MEDWAY, Maine — Medway resident Jim Gleason got one of the biggest surprises of his life Friday when he was pulled over by an East Millinocket police officer who gave him two tickets — to this summer’s Rod Stewart concert on the Bangor Waterfront.
The fake traffic stop was at the heart of a prank engineered by Gleason’s daughter, Ashly Dill, also of Medway, who was looking for a special way to mark a milestone in Gleason’s life. He turns 60 on Sunday, which also is Father’s Day.
“I don’t know how she pulled it off but she did,” he said.
“I was totally surprised. I thought I was going to end up getting a ticket. Well, I did get two, actually,” Gleason, a Rod Stewart fan, quipped Saturday morning.
Dill said Friday night that she purchased the tickets to the July 14 show a few months ago as a birthday present for her father and had been wracking her brain for a fun way to deliver them when she was inspired by a similar video on YouTube.
Last week she met with East Millinocket Police Chief Cameron McDunnuh to see if he was willing to play along. As it turned out, he was and assigned Officer Brad Fitzgerald to the mission, who made the stop while Gleason was driving around town doing errands with Dill.
As seen in the video, the traffic stop begins like most others, with the officer approaching the driver and asking for his license, registration and proof of insurance.
Fitzgerald tells Gleason that he was pulled over because one of the taillights on his truck is out. While Gleason has his license and registration with him, his proof of insurance is at home.
The officer briefly leaves to run his license plate information and returns with an envelope purportedly containing paperwork Gleason will need to address the insurance matter.
Gleason opens the envelope and finds concert tickets instead. When Gleason gives the officer a perplexed look he learns they are a gift from his daughter.
A video and photos Dill posted on her Facebook page and shared on a page for police scanner enthusiasts from the Katahdin region have been gaining dozens of views and shares since Friday.
“It’s been going crazy ever since I posted it. I didn’t think it would get this kind of reaction,” she said.
Gleason said Saturday that the only other time he’d been the recipient of a surprise gift was in 2007, when he won a drawing for a brand-new Ford 150 pickup through a safety incentive program run by his former employer, Lane Construction.
Gleason said he was driving that pickup when he was pulled over on Friday.
Gleason said he plans to take his wife, Nancy, with him to next month’s show.
“If she doesn’t want to go, I’ll find some old hippie that wants to go,” he said with a chuckle.