So, I was downtown Portland (the east coast one) running some errands today, and I decided to stop by a friend’s shop. The shop’s located on a side street right downtown, and the parking is usually very sparse around her place. So much so, that I usually just park in the No Parking or Loading Zone spots along the street. Then I stand by her all-glass storefront and keep an eye on my car. Even on weekends, the Ticket Masters (ahem, ticket police) are out in force and, on nice days, patrolling the streets on bicycles.
Today was a bicycle-weather day, and after talking with my friend for all of two minutes I noticed a Ticket Master slowly ride up the street.
So, I rush out of her shop and told the guy that I’d be leaving in one minute.
He asked if it was my truck, and I replied that it wasn’t, that my car was right there (pointing to my Toyota).
“Oh, I already ticketed that one,” he said unemotionally.
I look again and, sure enough, a ticket was wedged under the wiper (boy he was fast!).
He rode closer to me, and I walked toward him.
“The first one’s free, right?” I asked.
[For the longest time, Portland offered the first parking ticket free if you hadn’t received one in a given twelve-month period.]
“No, we don’t do that anymore. Besides,” he said, “you’re in a Loading Zone and that wouldn’t have applied to that type of spot anyway.”
So, I started chatting with the guy, telling him how I used to have Combination plates (which would have come in handy), but that I didn’t bother with them when I got my new car.
I figured, hey, I broke the law, got caught, so I’ll pay the fee.
I wasn’t angry. I didn’t cop an attitude. I wasn’t pissed at myself. It just was, and I accepted it.
Then, after a bit of a pause, the guy looked at me and said, “you know, never mind. Just rip it up.”
“Just rip the ticket up, and we’ll make like it didn’t happen,” he said. Then he reached for his stack of tickets, found mine, and ripped it up.
I looked up at him, completely in awe at what just happened, and reached out my hand to shake his.
He pulled his hand back to take off his riding glove; I told him not to bother, but he insisted, then we shook hands.
I look into his eyes and thanked him with genuine gratefulness, stunned at his kindness. Then I told him to have a great day, and he rode off.
When I walked back in to see my friend who had witnessed it all, she looked at me in complete surprise and said, “you’ve got to be the luckiest SOB in Portland! They never do that, and especially on this street.”
“Run out and get a lottery ticket,” she urged. “It’s your day!”
I don’t think so.
My vibes were in the right place. I wasn’t expecting anything other than good when I approached the Ticket Master. I was just going to talk with him, not beg and plead that he take the ticket back (which may have changed the outcome, I’m sure).
But this incident also plays into something I fully believe in: Expect good and good will happen.
Expect good in whatever you do and you are sure to find good everywhere.
And for me, today, that also meant a $30 savings on a parking ticket.