Good service, a smile and a pen made my day

By Phumla Mkize

Johannesburg – It is the bleakest of places to go.

But when you have to go, you do.


And so, I went. Armed with a form to be signed by the commissioner of oath, a swanky pen from a workshop I attended earlier in the year; face covered in a mask; sanitiser; wet wipes and other essentials in a small slingback, I walked into my local police station with the demeanour expected of a citizen hugely cognisant of the hard work done by police in our country.

They are after all at the coalface of the ugliness of our society It was a quiet day at the police station last Sunday around midday, just a handful of people inside waiting in clearly marked spaces to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

When the policewoman looked up at me and said “next” as soon as I had stepped on the mark on the floor, I thanked my lucky stars.

It was a quick process; I was in and out of there like a bank robber. But in the few minutes I spent at the police station, I had a heart-warming moment with the two cops who were working side by side at the counter, with the required social distance between them, of course.

With pen in hand, I gave the form to the policewoman. Her colleague, who was busy assisting another fellow citizen, took a quick look at her as she patted herself down for a pen, which I could see hidden under a piece of paper on the counter before me.

The quick-thinking policeman quipped: “Why don’t you use her nice pen,” he said, nodding towards my right hand. My comeback was just as quick; I made an excuse about COVID-19, sanitising the pen before giving it to her and how time-consuming it is blah blah blah. He was not buying it; he had his eyes set on my pen. I relented and handed my pen to the policewoman.

As she was sliding it back to me together with my form, the policeman suggested I leave the pen with his colleague because she needed it.

To get the point through, the policeman asked: “When was the last time you donated something to your local police station?” I gave it some thought – and “never” came to mind. He slowly nodded in my direction, as if reading my mind, one eye on his paperwork and the other glaring at my conscience, I said to the policewoman, “you can have the pen”.

I had cupped my hands to express the sincerity of my gesture, though it took some serious coaxing.

She politely refused, with a warm smile. I told her “I insist”. She was about to politely refuse again, when the policeman interjected that he will gladly take the pen.

To put her at ease, I said: “I’m going to spin the pen, and it will go to whomever the inky end points.” I spun the pen on the counter and it pointed directly at the policewoman. We had a nice giggle about it. I wished I had an extra nice pen to give to the policeman.

I thank those cops at Wierdabrug police station in Centurion, Tshwane for putting a smile on my face in such a solemn place. Thank you for your service.

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