Kind Berkeley cop made me smile

parking vehicleI arrived a block away from the library just before noon for my weekly date with Playreaders. When I tried to use my brand new debit card, the parking machine wouldn’t accept it. I made three attempts, but someone was behind me waiting, so I let him go ahead of me. It worked fine for him, which led me to believe it was my debit card that was the problem. I had dollar bills, but the machine accepted only coins or cards. I contemplated my situation for a few moments and decided to risk it since there was no time to walk up to one of Shattuck Avenue’s businesses to get change for my bills. I didn’t have enough coins to cover the hour I needed, but I figured it was better to buy a pass that would expire rather than not pay anything at all. I fed the machine what I had, which gave me only 15 minutes. Then I went to the library and read The Gin Game with my fellow Playreaders.

Returning to my parking spot afterward, I saw the parking meter vehicle stopped next to my car. I jogged the last bit, hoping to prevent the officer from writing a citation. He was speaking to a woman in a mini Cooper parked in front of me until he saw me and asked if the Honda was my car. I sheepishly admitted that it was. He almost laughed as he said it was way over time, but if I went to the machine then and bought the minimum  ($.35), he wouldn’t write me a ticket. I told him about the difficulty I had using my card, so he tried on my behalf, without success. Then he used his own card to see if the machine was broken. It wasn’t. I asked if he had change for a dollar bill, but he didn’t. I offered to give him the whole dollar bill to put toward the parking fee, but he wasn’t allowed to accept fees directly. I looked at him helplessly and sighed. He smiled and told me to forget about it. I thanked him profusely and jumped in my car.

I couldn’t believe it! I should have gotten that ticket, but the officer gave me a break. That positive interaction filled me with good will and sincerely gave me a better outlook on life. I didn’t even get his name, but I will remember his kind act. It’s nice to know that in these days of such high distrust in law enforcement that at least in my little corner of the world, cops can still be nice guys.

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