Drought of basic human decency when it comes to filling city coffers

MISSISSAUGA - Thanks to excessive rain on Friday, Pearson cancelled 150 flights.

A ferry was on standby for potential evacuation of the flooding Toronto Islands, and there was talk of closing the Don Valley Parkway.

On Ward’s Island and in the Beaches, the city and community were sandbagging.

People were helping each other. It was not a time for rigid, by-the-book rules.

So it was shocking to see a parking enforcement officer handing out tickets outside a soggy Erin Mills school that was packed with parents trying to get their kids home without getting drenched.

It was especially crucial for me since my little guy has been struggling with bronchitis and other ear, nose and throat issues and is on an antibiotics. His grandmother was going to walk him home in normal fashion, but we decided to pick him up in the car.

It was a mistake.

With so many cars there, clearly many parents had the same concern. I did find a spot but didn’t see the warning sign.

Another mistake.

But it was close to the school door to keep my precious son from getting soaked. My mom stayed in the car while I jumped out to go get him. Realizing it was wet, I ran back and retrieved a towel for him.

I wasn’t long and blocked no one. When I got back, a man in uniform was writing a ticket.

He didn’t say, “Hey it’s raining and I am going to cut you a break.” Or “Hey, I see a grandmother there and clearly you are getting a kid from school.”

No, he said he’s giving me the ticket. He also gave me a lecture on things ranging from how he gives the citation even when somebody is sitting in the car to how come I didn’t park down a side street legally like he did?

That he didn’t have a four-year-old with a whooping cough could be one of the reasons.

He wasn’t interested in hearing any special circumstances like we live nearby and had been at doctors all week and were worried for our boy’s health.

Zero tolerance! Shut up and pay! He is the law!

He scared my son, who wondered why we were in trouble. My boy also got really wet. Thanks, guy.

I was polite and calmly asked him about common sense, discretion, compassion and just basic human decency.

Those questions may be better directed as his superiors.

Who would think targeting parents collecting their kids on the worst weather day of spring is right? Is the city that hard up for money?

Now, as many of you know, I cover these kinds of stories and would have written this had it been another parent. I want to hear your stories, as I worry public service is becoming a small and mean entity focused on cash collecting to cover for waste and poor money management.

Knowing the civil service protects its own more than the citizens who pay for it all, I suspect I’m on the hook for the $55. Turns out you can’t fight parking tickets in court in Mississauga anymore.

But I did receive a friendly message from Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who is looking into it.

My point is that even though governments have signs and rules to their fill-the-coffers advantage, pulling up for a minute to pick up a child from school in the rain is not parking.

And fining people for being caring parents is not civilized.

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