Thursday, June 5, 2008

#98: Put change in someone's expired meter

Alex and I met his brother downtown last week for a lunch. Eugene has recently started a very cool internship for an international political and economical consulting firm. Sounds cool, huh? Anywho, we lucked into a metered parking spot only a block from the Quizno's, and as luck would have it, it still had 30 minutes left! We were basking in the awesomeness of our good fortune when we passed a large van on the other side of the street whose meter was blinking an angry red "Expired." We already had the change on hand from what we were going to put into our meter, so I realized this was the perfect opportunity to help someone out and cross this task off the list. What's more, the van had a handicapped parking rear-view-window-hanging-thing. Not only was I going to help someone, I was going to help someone who probably needed it more than others! I dropped a quarter into the slot and was prepared to feel proud of myself.

Nothing happened. The meter still impatiently insisted it was "Expired." Dang it! I had another quarter on me, and $.50 was nothing compared to the satisfaction I would feel saving a handicapped driver from a stiff parking ticket, the cruel exaction of a heartless officer. I dropped the second quarter into the slot and saw the display flash to 15 minutes. Surely that would be enough time for the driver to get back to their vehicle! In the world of parking tickets, where $150 can be decided by mere seconds, 15 minutes was an eternity. Feeling elated that I had saved someone from an afternoon ruined by a ticket, we sauntered down to the Quizno's and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch.

45 minutes later, as we strolled back to our car, I saw that the van was still parked in the same spot, and the angry "Expired" flashing notice had returned. I was out of change, and my good mood at saving someone from a parking ticket was depleted with every red flash. Geez, didn't these people realize that meters expire??? Clearly they weren't all that concerned about getting back to their spot, and there were no ticketing agents in sight. I decided they'd be fine, with or without me dropping any more change into their meter (if I had had any, that is).

So, my $.50 was sacrificed to the meter with no good to show for it. I didn't save the driver from a ticket, giving him just enough of a window to get back to his van and leave before his expired meter was discovered. Maybe I'll try this one again in the future and hope for a more effective outcome.

On the other hand, maybe a ticketing officer drove by in those 15 minutes of safety, while Alex and Eugene and I were blissfully munching our sandwiches. Maybe I did do some good. I think I'll go with that. It's the thought that counts, right?


Sara Lamb said...

It really is the thought that counts! You did your best and who knows ... maybe you really did save them from a ticket! Good job and that was really kind of you, even the the van owner will never know it.

Tabatha said...

This just reminds me of the "Meter Fairy" from Jackass.....

Good for you for *attempting* to help someone out!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you are very sweet... but fyi if the car has handicap placards hanging they are exempt from paying meters in austin. So no guy in a wheelchair got a ticket because you ran out of change... rest easy :-)

a nestie lurker

abbysmom said...

That is cool that you tried, it is the thought that counts.

I had no idea that handicapped tags exempted people from paying meters?

ashley said...

i was about to leave the same comment... handicap permits make them exempt =) but really, it is the thought that counts!

Jonathan said...

Definitely give this another try next time you're in NYC. The cops here are precise and relentless - Kerri got a ticket a couple of months ago while she was waiting in the car for me!