The other day a perfect stranger yelled at me.
My co-worker at Diamond Parking asked if I had ever watched the reality TV show on A&E called Parking Wars. Seriously? There’s a show that follows the Philadelphia parking authority people around the city as they write tickets and impound cars for parking violations. A year after I ended my recycling gig, I still think Redemption Wars would provide much mind numbing entertainment The behind the scenes look at the nasty business of recycling – and why people bring stinky trash to the redemption center. Alas, the good things I miss in life because I don't have a TV. I can't tune into the ½ hour show which highlights Philly’s most arrogant idiots who think they can park anywhere, anytime. However, after I had my first irate person hunt me down to complain about his ticket, I jumped on the Internet and watched Episode 18 to see how the Philly job compares to tickets writing in paradise.
I was making my way back to my moped when a man stopped his car in the middle of the road "to discuss" why I gave him a ticket. Granted, he was a little upset, but I honestly thought we were going to discuss it. I should have known that when a person prowls the streets looking for you they are either a Good Samaritan trying to do you a favor - like return your wallet - or they are insane. He was insane.
I let another car pass before I could respond to why I wrote his parking ticket. I addressed him with sir and braced myself for the worst. I kept my voice low. Figured it might diffuse the situation. Not really. I remembered his car and knew exactly where he had parked, a newly designated pay-in-advance parking lot. He had not paid.
“You got no business giving me a ticket. I wasn’t even in one of your spots.” That was true. It was not parked in a number stall. He managed to squeeze it into a space too small to number. It had been part of a handicap spot, but since that was removed the space by itself was not large enough to park a car in. For most. I could have written a ticket for improper parking...not in a stall. Instead, I issued one for no advance payment. Either way, you owe $40.00.
“You have no authority to issue tickets.” I was puzzled. I wasn't some random person wandering the Kona parking lots tagging cars. My company had been hired to manage the private lot. The owner decided to charge for the use of the space. I was hired to enforce the fees. I looked at my hand-held phone that contained the program for ticket writing. The program is awesome. With it I record all the necessary data on the car. It computes the length of time a car was parked in any "free for the first two hours" parking lot. It takes a photo and prints it as part of the ticket along with the GPS coordinates. No, “my car was never there” excuse. I'm sure the owner, my employer or I are not breaking any laws.
“I’m going to the police and file a complaint. I’ll have you arrested.” You parked in a private parking lot which charges $3.00 for two hours and you arrogantly didn’t pay. I think that is theft. I'll have you arrested.
“If you don’t take this ticket back I am going to see my lawyer and sue you. And I am going to sue you for the cost of my attorney.” I’ve been threatened by better and for far worse. Piss away your money as you will. That is your right.
“Are you going to take this ticket back?” He shoved the ticket at me. Not flinching I said, “ No sir."
“Then I am going to the cops.”
“Okay.” Good call.
He zoomed off. I’ve been waiting for him to run over me.
Its tough doing a job where people hate what you do. But I do make people happy too. Two Japanese girls ran up to me after I gave them a ticket. “I paid. I paid. The machine took my money.” I waited for the story. She called her friend over to corroborate it. “I put six dollars in machine. I didn’t have enough cash to pay seven. I didn’t have. The machine would not return my money. And no ticket. I could use credit card. I called the phone number on the machine.” The friend showed her phone and pointed to the called phone number.
The story seemed plausible.
“Please, no ticket,” she pleaded.
“Okay,” I said. But that was too easy and they were suspicious.
“I won’t get a ticket when I get home?” Apparently, this is an embarrassing event back home. I assured them they would not. I wrote void on the ticket and showed them. She gave me her name -Alice- and her phone number so I could check their call. I had no intentions of doing that. I placed an empty envelop on their car so I won't tag it again.
“Thank you. Thank you. We are not bad kids.” That cracked me up. They skipped away. Really, they skipped.
Yeah, Kona ain’t Philly.