The Story of a Priest Who was Going for Covid-19 Testing and Was Pulled Over by the Police

May 17, 2020

The Rector’s Weekly Letter to the Congregation for Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Story of a Priest Who was Going for Covid-19 Testing and Was Pulled Over by the Police

It was a nightmare for the priest. He had made the Covid-19 test appointment virtually by zoom. He had shortness of breath, a dry cough, and a fever, the three tell-tale signs of infection with Covid-19. The doctor referred the priest to a Walgreens Emergency location in Fort Collins. The priest specifically asked how come he was being referred to a Walgreens Emergency place and not to some center run by the medical organization the doctor worked for. The doctor informed the priest that her organization did not conduct tests and that they referred all patients to Walgreens Emergency. The priest understood.

On the day of the appointment, the priest started out to look for the location of the Walgreens Emergency recommended by the doctor.

He couldn’t locate it. He decided to look for any Walgreens Emergency. He was following the GPS telling him to turn this way and that way when suddenly he saw through his rear mirror police cars driving towards him with lights flashing. “Can they be coming for me?” he asked himself. He pulled over, and indeed they were after him, three police cars and quite a few police officers.

Police officer: “Do you know why we have pulled you over?”

Priest: “I have no idea whatsoever.”

Police officer: “Someone called us and said you drove over a curb twice.”

Priest: “That can’t be true. If it were true, surely I would have felt the bump of climbing on and off the curb.”

Police officer: “How much have you drunk this morning?”

Priest: (Lifting up a mug) “I have drunk this whole mugful of home-made pineapple juice. Now it’s all gone.”

Police officer: “What about alcohol?”

Priest: “I don’t drink alcohol. I am a priest.”

Police officer: “Where are you going?”

Priest: “I am going for Covid-19 testing at a Walgreens Emergency location.”

Police officer: “Please come out of your car and speak to us from here.”

By this time the priest was feeling very badly from the coronavirus. Inside the car was warm and outside was cold. He was shivering some, and he told the officers how badly he felt. The officers engaged him in many unrelated questions, and when he could bear standing no longer, he asked the officers to allow him to sit in the car. They allowed him to sit in the car but with his feet outside. That was much better than standing.

The officers had asked for the priest’s driver’s license and car registration. They retained these for what seemed to the priest to be a long time. Then a police officer asked the priest: “What’s the name of this street you are on?

Priest: “I don’t know. I was just following the GPS as it instructed me to make a left and a right and so on.” There was a Walgreens about 200 feet away. The priest told the officers that that’s where he was going. Eventually, the officers let him go with one officer volunteering a personal card.

The priest didn’t blame the officers for anything. They were just doing their job, he said to himself. They wanted to make sure some criminal was not out there driving drunk and endangering the lives of people on the streets. They were polite to the priest the whole time.

When the priest drove away from the police encounter, he realized the Walgreens he had come to didn’t have the word “Emergency” on it. So, it can’t be the place. So he did not branch there. The police came after him again. “You said you were going to this Walgreens, and then you didn’t,” said a puzzled officer. The priest explained that the Walgreens he wanted had to have the word “Emergency” on it, and this one didn’t. The police let him go a second time.

The priest went to two more Walgreens, and none had the word Emergency on it. At the last one he went to, he was told specifically that Walgreens doesn’t test for Covid-19 anywhere in Colorado. The priest was now really confused. The referring doctor had assured him that Walgreens Emergency does the testing. There must be a solution somewhere, and it might even be simple. A prayer was sent to Jesus for clarity of thought.

The priest was prompted to call a member of the church, a nurse, to tell her about the confusion in the appointment. The nurse, Gail Hoops, RN, offered to google and look around, and in less than five minutes called the priest back and directed him where the testing was being conducted. It was not at a Walgreens. It was indeed in Fort Collins, but at a drive-up center run by the medical organization of the referring doctor.

The priest hurried to the testing center. It was not busy, and he got attended to sooner than he had anticipated. He was told he would get results of the test within 48 hours, but early the following morning he received a call informing him that he was positive for Covid-19 and was given instructions of what to do which he followed strictly to the last dot.

It was an interesting day for the priest.

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