I parked in West Los Angeles the other day and was walking across the street as a PEO (That’s parking enforcement officer to you) walked up to a car with an expired meter. He said: “Is this your car?” I said no, that I was parked at the paid meter across the street. I then asked him that if it was my car, would he have written a citations. He said “No, that’s why I asked. If it was yours, I would have let it slide.” I asked him if he did that always and he said “yes” that if someone was walking up, he didn’t write the citation.
At that moment an “old dear” – as they say in the UK – walked up and asked if he had any change for the meter. He said — “No m’am, but you can use a credit card. However if you want to go in and get some change, I’ll make sure you cars OK until you get back.” I didn’t ask, but I’m convinced that if she didn’t come back right away (she was moving slowly) he would have given her a ‘pass’ too.
He was considerate, kind, and helpful. Almost the antithesis of what we are told PEOs are. My guess is that he is more the rule than the exception. I tried to get his picture, but after the famous ‘porn’ scandal in LA, he was understandably camera shy.
This fellow, in that few minutes, did a great PR job for parking and the city of LA. That’s what we need, more officers like this one. My fear, however, is that the “exception” will show up, and in two grouchy sentences erase all the good my friend did that day.