The title of this post sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke but believe it or not, a cop, a minister and McGruff the Crime Dog were instrumental in my husband and I meeting.
As a new college graduate I took a job at our local police department as a non-sworn employee working in the Crime Prevention Unit. I was basically a liasion between the department and community groups like community watches and civic organizations. I also threw in some safety presentation and security surveys here and there. Anyway, I loved my job and one of the things we did was bring along "McGruff" to schools. Since I am about six feet tall and was the youngest in the group, I was tapped to dress as McGruff. See folks, having a college degree doesn't mean you get to do all the glamourous stuff!
My first week on the job they took me to a concert at a local elementary school. The police department had a band made up of police officers that went to elementary schools in the city and performed. They delivered an anti-drug message during the intermission where McGruff made an appearance. Fortunately, since it was my first week, I didn't put the dog suit on, I just observed the McGruff performance.
After the performance ended my new co-workers and I were helping load everything up and they were introducing me to the officers in the band. The youngest officer, a very tall dark and handsome guy (with an awesome singing voice) said, "Hey, I know you from somewhere." We went through the usual, where we grew up, went to high school, etc., but never figured out where he knew me from.
Many of my co-workers (well all of them) were old enough to be my parents and had warned me, "Don't date a cop!" So after we left the performance, they joked with me about the "line" the officer threw at me. See, being a new 22 year-old woman in a very much majority male workplace means you are going to get hit on by every single (and not so single) guy there.
Months went by and I started dressing up as McGruff during these bi-weekly performances. Each week the young officer and I exchanged pleasantries but never had a real conversation because there was always so much going on.
During this time I was going through the "God please send me a good Christian man" phase of life. One night I was very frustrated and decided to give this part over to God. I asked God to please help me find the man meant for me.
A few weeks later I was at the performance speaking with the police supervisor who worked with the band. He mentioned that I should visit his church that Saturday, they were having a big fundraiser. After the band performance he called the tall, dark and handsome young officer over and said, "Here, Bradley can tell you where our church is, he is our part-time youth minister." WHAT?!! Cue ray of lights shining down and the heavens opening.
I didn't go that Saturday (still working up the nerve) but I talked my sister into going with me the next Sunday and a few Sundays after that but, Bradley did not ask me out. I told my sister that I wasn't going back, he wasn't interested.
The next week at work I found a note on my desk. Bradley had stopped by and he had some news for me. Well thankfully, one of my co-workers (my on the job mom) saw him walk by, grabbed him, closed her door and wanted to know if he was going to ask me out. I know very high schoolish, but before he left she had given him my number and made him promise to call me.
His big news was that he was leaving the police department and a few days later he asked me out to lunch and we went on our first official date that Friday. For the next three months, we didn't go one day without seeing each other.
One year and almost one month to the day of our first date, we were married. It's always a kick to tell people that I was McGruff when we met and he sang in the band.
Oh, and Bradley did know me from somewhere, it wasn't just a "line." During Christmas break of my freshman year in college, I was traveling to the mall to do some shopping when I witnessed a pretty bad wreck. I pulled over since I had a cell phone to call the police (these were the days when very few people had cell phones with them all the time). A car with two young college guys also pulled over to help. We waited for the cops to get there and then left.
Fast forward six years. Bradley and I drive past that intersection and he says, "I stopped at a really bad wreck here one day." Me, "I stopped at one here before too." Ding! Ding! Ding! We had stopped at the same wreck. See, God does have a sense of humor!