Picking up the telephone on the first ring, I mechanically answered: "Ambassador Bridge, U.S. Customs.."
"This is Inspector Dunbart, Canadian Customs," a male voice said. "There's a suspicious vehicle heading your way. Should arrive in about two minutes. Beige Chrysler Cordoba, dark brown top, occupied by a man and woman possibly in their 60's. and should be stopped and checked out thoroughly for contraband."
"Ten Four. Will handle. Thank you, Sir."
Immediately delivering the info verbatim to Customs Inspector Wayne Nystrom, who was working the flow of traffic coming across the bridge from Canada into the USA, I went back inside the Customs Office, sat down at my desk, and curiously watched out the window for the suspicious, but unsuspecting beige colored Cordoba to arrive.
Due to heavy traffic, it took almost three minutes before they arrived, and when they did, Wayne had them pull over to the side of the bridge while another officer proceeded to search their vehicle from hood to trunk. Meanwhile the two occupants stood nervously waiting outside of the car.
August is warm in Michigan, if not downright hot, and the lady in question was wearng a full length wool coat.
"Hmmm?" I thought. This thought was obviously ditto'ed by the officer - for he brought the lady in my office to be frisked and/or shook down. It's a" No No" for a male to pat down a female, so I, being the only female on the premises, did the honors.
You wouldn't believe what I discovered on this sixty year old lady!
Wrapped around her neck was a pair of panty hose that hung down to the bottom of her full length coat, and in each panty hose leg was bottles of Canadian Club, Royal Crown, Black Velvet and Canadian Mist Whisky. No wonder she walked so slow! And, believe me, it was hard to keep a straight face as I unburdened her from her load of bootlegged...ah, or panty-hosed contraband.
This was back in the days when one could declare a bottle of Canadian whisky free, without paying Customs, but anymore than that, the person had to pay Customs on. This couple evidently was going to have a Big Party, wanted the best whisky money would buy, and didn't want to pay Customs on it. And with smart thinking on their part...they traveled across the Bridge during heavy traffic so that perhaps nobody would take the time to stop them.
But thanks to a vigilant, conscientious and good Canadian officer on the other side of our mutual bridge, the couple was dead wrong! We caught them red-handed!
They paid the fine. We kept the booze...(which, incidently, if unopened is sold at auction and put into the USA coffers. However, "opened" booze is poured down the drain.)
Great teamwork between Canada and the USA. We tip them off when we suspect Milwaukee's finest beer is illegally coming their way, and they tip us off when they suspect their finest Canadian Club whisky is illegally coming our way.
Now that's what I call Mutual respect! Two countries, living peacefully side by side, working together to protect, preserve and maintain law and order for the good of all.
If only all the world could have the pleasure of such good and reliable neighbors, then planet Earth could be as God intended in the beginning...Peace on Earth and good will toward our fellow man.
Kudos, Canada! What might have been just another mundane day on the job, you gave your friends at the other end of the bridge a much needed "Laugh For the Day" with the panty hose saga! Many Thanks! And by the way...we kept the panty hose for a souvenir.
The Ambassador Bridge spans the Detroit River connecting Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan, and is manned 24/7 by Customs and Immigration officers on both ends of the bridge.
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