August Marks 75th Anniversary Of World’s First Expired Meter Parking Ticket
The Reverend C. H. North, of Oklahoma’s City’s Third Pentecostal Holiness Church, drove his automobile downtown, and parked at a spot in front of one of those new-fangled devices called the Park-O-Meter the newspapers had been talking about.
Park-O-Meters, the brand name of the first parking meters were just recently invented, and the first batch of 150 had just been installed the month before creating sort of a hub-bub around town over those past few weeks.
North stepped out of his car, and wiping sweat from his forehead stepped into the hot and dusty street. He walked to the curb where the meter was planted in cement just in front of his automobile, and read the gadget.
It demanded 5 cents to park there.
The good Reverend checked his right pocket, and then his left. A few pennies, a dime, a quarter and a few silver dollars, landed in the palm of his hand. But there were no nickels.
North sighed and then trudged into the nearest store, a grocery, to get change for the meter, not knowing that at this very moment he would make history.
Because when Rev. North walked back out into the street a few minutes later, he saw a piece of paper on the windshield of his car. He picked it up and peered at it curiously. It was a ticket for an expired meter.
He didn’t know it at that very moment, but Rev. North became the very first person in the United States, in the world in fact, to receive a parking ticket for an expired meter violation.
A few weeks later in court, Rev. North explained to the judge what happened and how he had left his vehicle briefly in search of change. At this moment Rev. North made history again as the first person to use the “I just went to get change” excuse to fight an expired meter violation.
The judge dismissed his ticket.