Stories of Kindness from Around the World

$1.75 to Make 7 People's Day

--by Swift, posted Jul 1, 2008

I work in the beautiful city of Barrie, Ontario.  I usually try to walk everyday on my lunch break at work for about 4kms, which takes me about an hour.  People in my town are courteous, appreciative and easy going, which makes my walks pleasant and highly enjoyable (part of the reason I take them!).

The route on my walks varies day-to-day, but almost always takes me through the downtown core of the city.  The streets of downtown Barrie are littered with streetside parking spots, all of which are metered.  Now, the metered parking around the downtown core is certainly not expensive.  Usually, 25 cents will get you 25 minutes.  I've often noticed many of the meters are flashing red with an expiry warning and thought, "Thankfully I walk, I would hate to get a ticket." 

Today, as I was making my rounds in front of a popular park in town, I noticed a Parking Enforcement Officer preparing to write a ticket up for someone who had just committed a parking violation and let their meter expire.  I noticed the car that she was eyeing and asked her a question.  "Excuse me, but are you preparing to write a ticket for this car?"  "I am", she replied.  "Can I help you with something?"

I responded to her kindly and asked, "Would you mind if I paid some money into this meter before you start writing that ticket?  I know you are just doing your job and I don't want to bother you, but I would rather make this person's afternoon a happy one."  She didn't respond to me directly in words, however I knew what she was saying to me.  She put away her notepad in her pocket and smiled.  Finally I asked her which direction she was planning to start off in as she proceeded to do her job.  Without saying a word (I imagine she probably couldn't while on duty) she motioned towards the direction my walk was continuing in anyhow.

I thanked the Parking Enforcement lady for her kindness and advised her that she might feel like taking a "25 minute break" instead of continuing forward on her route.  I gave her a Smile Card from my wallet and also left one tucked in the door handle of the car which would have recieved a ticket.  Then, one-by-one, I proceeded to put quarters into the machines that were expired or would be expiring shortly: $0.25 per meter for 25 more minutes for 7 cars.  In all, that worked out to be a grand total of $1.75 and a smile card for each vehicle.  I sacrificed my usual mid-walk coffee stop today. A small price to pay in order to afford the ability to save these individuals a $60 parking ticket.

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Readers Comments

Bluebell wrote: Lovely idea, thanks for sharing.
wayfarer wrote: I feel a big Yeehaa!! coming on. Your kindness just made me soooo happy. Thank you.
JuneBug wrote: This is a nice story of kindness...Would you believe a lady [this was years ago] attempted to do the same thing here in the states and got arrested?? I guess it took away from the city ticket money that they would have used and they felt she prevented that from happening! How sad! I'm glad you made it to seven meters!
lOVEBUG wrote: It is good to know you live in a city that does not require their employees to write tickets to get a paycheck..I bet all 7 people thanked God you like to walk and share your good heart.
cabbage wrote: WOW....that just made my day!
Thank you! :-)
perseverance wrote: Kindness in action great thanks
katlampi wrote: This made me smile! I wish all people were so kind. And I wish all parking meter officers were kind and gracious like this one. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. I am glad you come from a good town with a strong sense of community -- I think the world would be a different place if we all had that experience!
warmth wrote: very very thoughtful and kind of u. Thank u for this inspiring kindness story :)
AURELIA wrote: Cheers to You! I hope they know why there was a SMILE Card on their windows. You are incredible and I am so grateful to you for giving us such a wonderful idea. Have a peaceful walk and yummy coffee today. :) ~Aurelia
brighteyes wrote: Great idea...thanks for sharing

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