Stoffer and the wrecker

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I’m not sure that — a lot of you didn’t know John Stoffer. John was a lawyer here, was a great actor and wanted to be an actor. And he was somewhat of a practical joker. You could ask John what time it was, and he’d tell you how to build grandfather clock.

One Friday afternoon Caperton and a bunch of us would always park in the basement of the old white courthouse when the judges went home, and they usually went home at noon on Friday. And so I spotted Caperton — spotted Stoffer’s car down there in Bowie’s parking place and went upstairs and told Charles. I said, “Well, I just saw the funniest thing you’ve ever seen down in the court — down in the basement of the courthouse.” And he said, “What’s that?” And I said, “Well, this poor guy is down there, and they’ve got his car on a wrecker. He ran and said, ‘Hey, man, wait, wait. That’s my car.’ He said, ‘Don’t take my car.’ So they said, ‘Well, we’re sorry sir. We’ve got to give you a ticket.’ ‘That’s okay. I’ll take a ticket. I ‘ve got to get out to the airport; I’ve got to catch a flight.’ So he said, ‘Well, sir, I’m sorry; we can’t give you a ticket. We have to take your car to the pound.’ And he said, ‘Well, could I ride with you?’ And he said, ‘No, you can’t ride with us.’ Says, ‘Well, where’s the pound?’ They said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to find it.’ And they drove off. Now they’re pulling all these cars out of the judges’ spaces.”

So Stoffer is sitting in his office over there, and he hears me. He gets up and wheels out and runs downstairs. Well, about a month later we’re at a party. And his wife says, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” I said, “Why’s that?” And she said, “Well” — she told me about the story that I told Caperton. And she said, “John Howard ran down in the courtroom — ran down the court stairs to the basement, ran down there and said, ‘Don’t take my car,’ looked up, and there was no activity in the basement.”


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