To the editor:
The parking patrol officer appeared ready and waiting, ticket machine in hand, in anticipation of a parking infraction.
As I rushed past him to buy my parking pass, I saw and made eye contact with him. That was my first inkling of something not being right.
He seemed to have a smirk on his face, and looked as if to be lurking in the shadows, biding his time.
I got the willies, thinking to myself: “Boy, he sure is eager to catch some poor harried visitor, who’s hurrying back to their car after seeing a sick loved one.”
I carried on my way, thinking no more of the moment, bought my parking voucher in the nearby hospital lobby and proceeded to visit my friend.
Turns out I became that poor harried visitor, racing against the clock to get back to my car, where of course I found an envelope stuck underneath my windshield wiper.
The ticket was written one minute before the hour was up, not after. I was annoyed to say the least, both at myself, and what I thought was an overzealous parking lot patroller.
I planned on paying it before the week was up, but was getting more agitated as time went by. Five days later, I read the ticket again only to discover in the particulars section it stated that I had parked in a restricted lot and that my license plate wasn’t registered.
The ticket also read 10:57 a.m., which was exactly one minute before I purchased my parking receipt in the lobby. My receipt read 10:58 a.m. on March 31, 2019.
Discovering this, I immediately phoned the ticket inquiries number and pointed it out. The woman on the other end of the phone graciously and immediately cancelled the ticket.
So it seems that I was quite good at reading the patroller’s body language and intentions after all, and was not just imagining things. He was in a position to be able to see me get out of my car and rush past him towards the hospital entrance.
Hence in my opinion, he was looking to pinch me before I had even a chance to buy a parking pass, probably knowing that most people won’t read the fine print and will just pay the penalty.
I know that a parking patroller’s job pays barely above minimum wage so am wondering if there is a commission incentive for the number of tickets one hands out in a day to make up for it.
In any event, I just want to warn the public to read the fine print before automatically paying a ticket to make sure that it is legitimate.