Click bait title is click bait, but I do have a story to tell.
I went to the zoo earlier, which is something I do practically every weekend. I parked my car two spots down from this Kia Soul which, for reasons I’m sure are obvious, I wanted to take a couple pictures of.
Normal thing to do as a car enthusiast, no? Well I do it all the time. Right after taking the picture of the back I look to my right and see a Sheriff in a police Tahoe. Thinking I was in the way I kinda did a ‘oh sorry’ head raise and started walking towards the sidewalk in front of the Kia.
Let me set the scene a little really quickly: I am a 28 year old white Jew, 5' 8" on a good day, about 220 pounds. It’s Sunday so I’m wearing a really bright orange t-shirt and some light blue shorts that basically look like cutoff sweat pants. I had stopped at Starbucks on the way to the zoo so I’m clutching a grande iced coffee in one arm and holding my iPhone in the other.
As soon as I get to the sidewalk the officer pulls up, lowers his window, and waves me over. Here is our exchange:
Officer: Is that your car?
O: Why are you taking pictures of it?
M: I thought it looked neat
Officer gets out of the car, walks up to me. He towers over me by the way, had to be 6' 2" or taller. He is also white, not that it should matter. Asks to see my ID, which I hand to him, and asks if I have any weapons, which I don’t.
Officer: We’ve had some break ins recently, so this doesn’t look great you taking pictures of cars. Why are you doing that?
Me: I’m a car enthusiast, it’s kinda what we do. But I understand what you mean and I’m glad you’re looking out for it
O: Well think how it looks to me, you’re just out here taking pictures of the car. What are you doing here? (as he says this he starts radioing in my info)
M: I’m a zoo member, I’m here all the time. Probably too much
O: Where’s your car?
M, pointing to my Mustang which is two spots over: Right there, the black Mustang
O: That’s your car?
M: Yeah, that one. I just parked.
O: That car right there? Really? That’s a nice car
M: Yeah I like it
O: What do you do for work?
M: I’m an engineer at *redacted airplane company*, I design plane parts
O: oh, nice. Are you from here?
M: no, but I went to KU and I’ve been in Wichita for 6 years
At this point I was honestly a little annoyed. Surely by now he had enough info so I could just go look at animals. Radio comes back, some stuff I don’t understand, and the officer finally says alright and hands me back my ID. He again says ‘think how this looks to me’ and I again thank him for being on the lookout and state that I understand his perspective.
Okay so it’s a boring story, but it was quite an odd experience. On one hand I’m glad he doesn’t seem to be profiling one way or the other, but on another hand come on: did I really look that suspicious?
When I left the Kia was gone. Hopefully taken home by its owner and not someone else.
Here’s a tiger for your time: