People watching is the best show on earth...

Aug 2, 2008

The Golden Rule

. Aug 2, 2008


Tonight I am picking up our dinner at a local smokehouse. I called in the order - two tri tips with mop sauce, barbecue beans and honey cornbread that you just want to be all alone with. The restaurant is on a street packed with all sorts of eateries. It's always a bear to find parking here. All the spaces are metered, either street side or in parking lots, and they're full at dinner time on Friday night.

As I inch into the short intersection with my big car, traffic is so heavy the light turns red before I can complete my left turn. Honks blast at me from behind, in front and the side. The man's face in my rear view mirror is all scrunched up. I leave the kind words he mouths behind as I squeeze between cars and into the parking lot.

As I look for a spot, my shoulders tense. I am already late getting home. I crack the window for fresh air and the sweet aroma from the restaurant's smoker curls in to greet me like an old friend. All this logistical aggravation will melt away with my first bite of tri tip. After 10 minutes of idling in the parking lot, a man walks my way in my rear view. He passes my driver's side and glances over. He is an older gentleman, a little bent with years. He smiles and points to a sedan to my right. Happy day. I'm in.

I back up a bit and flick my blinker on to lay claim. People around here take parking spots very seriously. As the man approaches his car, another vehicle enters the lot from the driveway in front of me and slowly approaches. Here we go, it's on, I say to myself. The jeep shines its lights into my windshield. Very clever, he's a blinder. I'm about to launch my SUV brights at him when he exits the jeep holding something.

Under the glow of the streetlight, his uniform becomes clear. He is a parking control officer. The meters here run until 9 p.m. and a quarter only buys 15 minutes. He quickly walks to the meter blinking a little red light next to the man who's leaving, checks it and goes to the read the car's back license plate. What a shame. Someone's weekend begins with a $50 parking ticket.

The man I'm waiting for closes his car door again. He approaches the parking officer and motions to the meter. The officer shrugs his shoulders. The man nods. He extends his arm and shakes the officer's hand. He walks to the stranger's expired meter, reaches into his pocket and fills it with coins. Spontaneously, I lower my window and shout, "You're awesome!" He waves at me, smiling, and gets back into his car. As he pulls out, I read his license plate frame, "Matthew 7:12".

14 Whispers:

Chase March said...

Wow, that's nice to know that a parking officer would let that happen. I heard that you aren't allowed to feed someone eles's meter.

Writer Dad said...

That was a wonderful little story. I just had it with my coffee. Thank you.

Vienne said...

Hi Chase, I didn't know that. I do know that once the officer starts entering info on his citation machine, he can't void the ticket anymore. This wisdom is from countless times of me running back to my car to find an officer typing my info into that machine. They won't budge. If it's true what you say about feeding someone else's meter, than yes this officer was very considerate. Lucky break!

Hi Writer Dad, thanks for commenting. I was thinking this morning about the empty meter person. I wonder if they realize what the old man did for them or if they lost track of time and had no idea. Guess that's not the point. But still.

texas_sweetie said...

tthanks for sharing.probably that was Jesus,so kind of HIm!
Dropped you an EC too.ty for dropping yours to mine.

Mrinal Pentapalli said...

The way you narrate it is interesting. Nice to meet another writer.

Dori said...

I love your blog. Thanks for the EC. I will definitely be back to read more.

Rudy said...

Perhaps you were trying to be an agnostic, but it would be immensely helpful if you hyperlink Matthew 7:12 to the actual scripture itself:

Patricia Rockwell said...

Love your blog and its concept. I am sending you the Brillante Weblog Premio 2008 award. You can pick it up later today at my site.


Angel said...

You have a wonderful blog, with beautiful writing. I will definitely be back for more!

Take care

Chelle said...

That's a great little story. I am surprised the officer would let someone do that too. But nice to see people still do those kinds of things!

Vienne said...

Hi Texas and thanks for reading. I thought the man was really living by example when he filled that meter. I personally see god in every goodness humans extend to each other.

Hello Mrinal, thanks for commenting. I have always loved to write in first person. Most other writers I know find that unusual, but it just feels like home to me.

Welcome, Dori. I'm glad you stopped in and thanks for taking time to comment.

Thanks for the link, Rudy. I thought about that, but then went for a broader attempt at inclusion. I found it interesting that so many world religions make reference to their own interpretation of the golden rule. Being Catholic, I've grown up with the scripture for it. I thought this chart was a cool visual of how similar many beliefs are when it comes to kindness.

Hi Patricia and thank you. I stopped over at yours and intend to work on my post soon. I appreciate the recognition!

Thank you, Angel. I really like your avatar. Hummingbirds are tiny flying miracles.

Hello Chelle, yes, most of the parking officers I've encountered (and that's a fair number)have been quite intent on issuing the citation. Just doing their job, I suppose, but parking tickets suck.

Petitehye said...

Thanks for sharing the story. He's kind... and I like his license plate frame... maybe he is a God-fearing man and knows how to do good to others...

ImitationAngel said...

I know in most places once the ticket is written it can't be taken back. An added bonus is that you're not suppose to feed another persons meter. That parking officer was truly kind by doing what he did. At some point he was probably a victim of this same situation. More parking officers should follow his lead.

Cherry (addicted to politics and dating) said...

I love it!

It's something I wish I would think of more... I've done it before, and I always wonder if the people I feed the meter for, even notice...

I think it would be a good idea to give them a little card that says something... I just fed your meter, now if you can, please pay it forward and do something nice for someone you don't no, for no good reason.


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