Chalk One Up For The Little Guy
Vindication For Motorist Ticketed Paying Meter On Video
Motorist Scott Larsen became a bit of a minor internet celebrity last week just trying to pay for his street parking just over a week ago.
Trying to pay for his metered parking downtown, an NBC camera crew tried to interview him about his thoughts on the increased parking meter rates that had just went into effect a few days before.
But while he was paying, a Traffic Management Aide (TMA) was busy writing Larsen’s car a ticket for, of course, not feeding his meter.
“I literally couldn’t have been two minutes from exiting the car when I walked up to pay,” said Larsen. “30 seconds later I saw she was writing a ticket. Obviously she saw me. I’ve gotten several thousand dollars worth of tickets over several years and to get one in spite of paying is really frustrating.”
The entire encounter got caught on video, posted to the web and viola’ a tempest in an, admittedly, tiny teapot.
While at the end of the video Larsen dejectedly walked away from his car with a $50 bright orange parking ticket, this wasn’t the end of the story.
It seems once the NBC video had started making it’s rounds of local news websites (including here), someone within the Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) got wind and realized they had an embarrassing situation on their hands.
According to OEMC spokesperson Roderick Drew, OEMC officials not only watched NBC’s video, but were able to review the entire encounter on video captured from one of Chicago’s overhead “bluelight” pod cameras.
“We reviewed the pod camera which captured the entire incident,” said Drew. “We immediately tracked him (Larsen) down and non-suited the ticket and apologized for the incident.”
According to Drew, OEMC moved to throw out the ticket within 24 hours of the video posting.
Larsen, contacted by phone seemed satisfied with the outcome, explaining someone from OEMC had made repeated calls to the customer service department of Luna, the carpeting company where he’s a salesman, trying to reach him the day after the incident.
When they finally reached Larsen he says, “They said, ‘we apologize for the incident and how our TMA agent acted’.”
Although Larsen is happy with his ticketed being withdrawn, he’s still miffed at the way the TMA acted.
“I thought she (the TMA) was being overzealous, unsympathetic and gruff,” said Larsen “Sometimes when you give people a small amount of authority it goes to their heads.”
But the OEMC’s Drew feels no one is really to blame in this situation and it was simply one big miscommunication.
“In reviewing the incident he (Larsen) literally parked his car and walked to the meter,” Drew elaborated. “He was partially obstructed by the camera and the TMA didn’t see anyone at the paybox. No one was really at fault. It’s one of those quirky situations you hope doesn’t happen.”
In the end, Larsen has one less parking ticket to pay and is satisfied with the outcome.
“It was nice to have something good come out of all of this,” said Larsen.