Two hundred and eighty-two

How often have you walked past a parking meter and thought, “too bad for that guy, he’s going to get a ticket”?  And how often have you underestimated the amount of time you needed to get your shopping done, or get your teeth cleaned at the dentist, or got stuck in a line-up, and not put enough money in the meter yourself?  Don’t you hate that sinking feeling as you approach your car and see that yellow (it’s yellow in Toronto) ticket under your windshield wiper?  That’s enough to throw off your day.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if, when you got to your car after realizing your were late, some kind stranger had put a few quarters in the meter for you and bought you extra time to get there?  That’s a way to make your day even brighter.

Today I walked around downtown Burlington, Ontario and was that kind stranger.  I put money in all the expired parking meters I found.  I did it swiftly, trying not to draw attention to myself.  I got one strange look from a lady walking with her toddler behind me who saw me do it to a few meters, but besides that I was a stealth agent on a secret mission.  It was sort of fun and I felt great helping these people out who might not even notice.

Unfortunately, in Toronto and some other cities, they now use parking machines, where you have to buy a slip of paper and put in on your dash inside your car, or put in your license plate number.  All that technology is convenient but hurting the good deed potential!

And if you live in certain areas of the States, you can get arrested for feeding parking meters of strangers.  Just ask Ben Bond from  Eugene, Ore. or 62-year old Sylivia Staton from Cincinnati who were both arrested and had to pay large fines for their random acts of kindness.