Greatest Criminal Mind Ever – Mateo

There are times in life when one really cannot make sense of what has just transpired. Times that seem life is playing a joke on you or that you’ve been “set up” by unseen cosmic forces. After the event ends you’re in a a state of shock and confusion and swear that perhaps those have gone before you may have had a part to play.
One of these moments happened to me this morning of May 8th at around 8:30am. It was actually suggested by a real police officer, during a real traffic stop that I may have “the Greatest Criminal Mind Ever.” Without further delay, the events unfolded as such.

I had only been in my car for five minutes and was driving through the unsightly Tenderloin neighborhood going to my first customer. I was following a rather wide shuttle bus that slowed and pulled over to the side of the road. I started to go around when I saw a police officer directly in front of me telling me to stop and pull over. The officer then proceeded to pull the next 10 drivers behind me over as well.

I thought that perhaps there had been an incident up ahead or perhaps some sort of protest. When another driver asked why we had been pulled over he told us that we had all failed to stop for the small school bus on the corner which had its stop sign out.
Now, in the Tenderloin I am extremely cautious because people will walk out in the street in front of you and one has to be careful.

However, I have no recollection of any school bus but sure enough there did happen to be one behind me on the corner. Therefore, I’m thinking I’m dead in the water I’m definitely going to receive a ticket.
As the officer had stopped at least 15 cars, the traffic was quite backed up. After about ten minutes of waiting he comes to my window and asks for my drivers license. I pull out my wallet only to discover I do not seem to have my drivers license. I search pretty thoroughly only to confirm this fact. The officer only waits about 5 seconds, tells me to keep looking and goes on to the other vehicles.

At this point, I am a bit confused since in my three years of living here:

1. I have never been pulled over
2. I have had my drivers license every single day

Therefore, it seems to make no sense that on the one time I get pulled over my license just happens to not be in my wallet. Suspicious indeed…………

Now, there are about 5 other policemen taking care of the situation yet in no rush what so ever. So I decide to get out of my car and wait. The original officer comes back and asks if I’ve found my license to which I reply, “I’m sorry sir but I don’t seem to have my license.” He tells me to find the license number and will come back. So I check my insurance information which I had recently renewed but did not happen to have the up-to-date insurance information with me and realize I had left it in my apartment.

Further, there is no drivers license number on the insurance or DMV registration.

By this point another officer came next to me but said nothing. The original officer comes back and the dialogue is as follows:

Officer: “Did you find your license yet?”
Me: “No sir. I think what may have happened is that when I renewed my insurance I might have left my license on my desk.”
Officer: “Find your license number.” “If you can’t find it we will have to tow your car.”
Me: “I understand sir.” “I really do not know why my license just happens not to be in my wallet at this particular time sir. This is strange.”
Officer: “Find your license number.” “Can’t you call your insurance company.”
Me: “Well, it’s Geico, and the customer service isn’t very good.” “I’ll keep looking sir.”
He proceeds to write me a ticket.
Officer: “What is your hair color”
Me: “Brown”
Officer: “Eyes?”
Me: “Blue”
Officer: “Weight?”
Me: “180lbs”
Officer: “What is that a Scion?”
Me: “Yes sir.”
Officer: “Who makes that?”
Me: “Toyota Sir”
Officer: “Did you find your license number yet?”
Me: “Yes sir, it’s 4, 5, Henry, Charlie…..”
Officer: “No, that is your license plate number I need your DRIVER’S LICENSE number.”
Me: “Oh, sorry sir.”
Officer: “Ok, I’ll look it up on the computer.” “You’re not going to be one of those guys I have to tow are you?”
Me: “No sir.” “Sorry to keep holding you up sir, I really do.”
Officer: “We get paid by the hour, I’ve got time.”
Officer goes to the patrol car for about five minutes and comes back.
Officer: “There are a couple of people under your name, what is your date of birth?”
I tell him my date of birth and he goes back to the patrol car. He comes back a few minutes later looking at me and shaking his head.
Officer: “I don’t think you have a license!”
Me: “I do have a license sir.”
Officer: “In California?”
Me: “Yes sir, it’s California.”
Officer: “How long have you lived here?”
Me: “About three years, I live right up the street, I have my Blockbuster card, my Costco card, but strangely, I just do not seem to have my drivers license.”
At this point, I’m really laying the Midwestern charm on very thick and that I’m most likely the only one who is being polite and extremely cooperative about being pulled over. The other drivers are grumbling about having to be on time somewhere.
Officer: “You are not in our database!”
Me: “I don’t know why that would be sir, my last name is spelled C, U, R, T, I, N”
Officer: “Like the things you hang on the window?”
Me: “Yes sir, without the a.”
Officer: “Do you have any parking tickets?”
Me: “Yes sir.”
Officer: “Well go get them”
Me: “Uh, I mean no sir, I got one last year but paid it. I don’t have one with me.”
The officer addresses the other.
Officer: “Call it in and see if they can find him.”
Officer #2 “Yea, I need a D-L on a C, U, R, T, I, N”
Dispatcher: “No record”
Officer: “Do you have any identification?”
I hand my Bank card (with picture) and business card to officer number 2
Officer: “Where do you work?”
Me: “I work at (name of company).”
Officer: What is that?”
Me: “I sell industrial supplies to the skyscrapers downtown.”
Officer to officer number 2
Officer: “You know, he really doesn’t seem like the type that wouldn’t have a license.”
Officer #2: “Yea that or he’s the greatest criminal mind ever.”
They share a laugh and I as well although nervously. Officer then addresses me.
Officer: “Ok, get out of here, go find your license.”
Me: “Sorry about that, thank you officer.”
Officer: “Go!”

And so I went.

I came back to my apartment and looked all around but no driver’s license was to be found. I still had to work so I went to out to visit customers. I entered the Transamerica building and stood behind someone checking in with security. The security officer asked to see his identification and the light went off. I bet I left it at the (insert name) Hotel!!! Sure enough, I had left it with security on a customer visit a few days ago.

It would seem the cosmic forces have gotten me (or saved me) on this occasion. I still cannot understand that even though I have had my license with me every single day the one day I get pulled over it is not there. Further, I DO NOT SHOW UP in the database!!!

Cosmic forces indeed……..

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/


  1. Very well written, it's very interesting, could be a good part of your book, 🙂 .. I really like the conversation between you and the cops, it's hilarious! And yes, it's so strange of how things happened indeed, but you know what you wouldn't be that lucky if they were Vietnamese cops, hehe…

  2. Miscreant. Endangering the lives of innocent schoolchildren with your reckless driving and all. You should do what I do to get out of tickets – have a dog in the truck. Pongo got me out of one, Betsy's gotten me out of another.

  3. It's true Matt- Betsy got us out of our last ticket. The officer spent the entire time we were pulled over baby talking to her. In the mean time, she was trying to take his face off. Carmic forces at their best.

  4. To be fair, the X was also filled with Xmas gifts and being driven by a yuppie DINK couple. We're pretty harmless (or so the man thinks)

  5. Hi! I’m Mari who was one of your students in Tokyo. Loooong time no see. I supporse you don’t remember(?!)
    I’m going to SF in this weekend. Can I see you?

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