It was a white convertible with a baby on board that patrol officer Christian Velasco had to chase and flag down. According to protocol, he handed over a ticket to the baby who was also the driver: two-year old toddler Za’Dariyah Mishaw was apparently cruising on her new toy car when she was caught and had to take a ticket for “reckless driving.”
A photograph of the young driver, receiving her ticket from officer Velasco on Sunday, has gone viral on the internet. Dressed in a grey tee and jeans, with her hair plaited and held together by little white bands, Za’Dariyah looks like she was out enjoying the Florida sunshine, until the cop car with its blue lights approached her to handover her first-ever ticket.
In the picture, Za’Dariyah is seen cooperating with officer Velasco, who seems to have to bend a little to hand over the ticket. The much bigger patrol car, with its sirens still flashing, frames the backdrop where two other officers are seen watching the whole episode. Officer Velasco said that every time he was out on a call, he likes to try to interact with the community he is visiting.
The incident, which has sparked croons and laughter around the Internet, took place in the parking lot of the condominium complex, where Za’Dariyah resides with her family. The officers were out on a call for a criminal investigation nearby, when they saw the toddler speeding away and bumping into a few adult cars in the parking lot.
First Coast News reported officer Velasco as saying that Za’Dariyah was going “pretty fast” and that it took him some time to catch up with her. But they did catch her and little Za’Dariyah had no choice but to pull over and get cited. It is not clear what exactly was her traffic offense and whether she was speeding or took a turn without signaling ahead. However, the toddler in her toy car had to take a a four dollar ticket in lieu of her traffic-related violation.
The picture of getting her first taste of American law was shot by her uncle Keyth Mishaw. In another picture, Za’Dariyah is seen proudly leaning against the bonnet of her brand-new toy car with hands folded across her chest. In uncle Keyth’s view, the incident only added to his niece’s excitement over having a new convertible and that the little girl was mighty impressed with her ticketing officers. He also hoped that his pictures created a positive idea about the police.
Even though everyone he knew always had bad things to say about the Sheriff’s Department in Jacksonville, Keyth felt Za’Dariyah’s little run-in with the law had created a “memorable” moment for his family. It was a moment of fun that seemed to brighten up the entire day, he said. He definitely agreed with the cops over the citation. For her part, Za’Dariyah did not try to buy her way out of the ticket by crying or running away, and is telling her mother over and over again that she wants to pay for her ticket.
After shooting to fame online over Za’Dariyah’s traffic infraction, the Mishaw family was brought on television for a quick interview on First Coast News. While her mother held onto her ticket, baby Mishaw listened attentively to her uncle describing the scene for everyone. When questioned on how much she had to pay for her ticket, Za’Dariyah promptly said four dollars.
Her mother said that she was still in a bit of shock that her daughter’s “run-in” with the law had found so many takers. The pictures of Za’Dariyah, posted onto Facebook, have received over 50,000 likes and has been shared around 17,000 times and the numbers are still growing. However, Za’Dariyah is not the first toddler to take a ticket from the Police. In November 2012, the mother of a three-year old boy in Piedmont, Oklahoma was dished out a whopping $2500 ticket, when a patrol officer found the boy urinating in his front yard.
By Aruna Iyer
First Coast News