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A Letter to My Parking Ticket

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Dear little yellow parking ticket,


I hate you. Okay, maybe that is a little harsh. I am sure you had the best of intentions when you tucked yourself in my windshield wiper two weeks ago. I get it; I parked where I wasn’t supposed to. And I get that an ignorance to the law does not mean you are above it and all that stuff, but truly I hope you understand that I didn’t do it on purpose. A 50 dollar fine is a little harsh, don’t you think? I mean it’s all laid out very clearly on you, that parking in a community street results in a 50 dollar fine. However, I was completely ignorant to the fact that where I parked was even considered a street. When you told me that my car was parked on “Robbins Ave.,” I can assure you that I did not know that this alley even had a name until that moment. Actually, it took a little longer than that for me to realize this, as I spent the next days scouting out a street sign, which was to no avail. Maybe it’s just me, but I believe for something to be considered a “street,” it should at least be labeled, don’t you think? Can it even be considered a street when you have to drive on it under 2 miles an hour because they haven’t filled the pot-craters since we were the Crimson Eagles?

I find it really interesting that you, little yellow parking ticket, have the option to give me just a “warning” (with a flat fine of zero dollars), but instead choose to fine me 50 dollars on my first offense. If only you knew me, my little yellow friend, then you would understand that the person that you fined is one that has always played by the rules and would have never risked a 50 dollar fine by parking in this “street.” And don’t you think, my little yellow friend, that if I was a rule-breaker that I would have parked in the student lot where I would have only risked a 10 dollar fine? Believe it or not, I did not park in the student lot on purpose, because I did not want the two-hour window that I was in Penndel to inconvenience any of my classmates who have the right to those spots. I parked in what I saw to be the most out of the way place for everyone.

Also, I don’t know if you are around college students much, but most students do not have 50 dollars just lying around. A 10 dollar ticket I can understand. It is a little kick in the behind to the point where you feel the loss. But 50 dollars? I have basically come to the conclusion that I will not be eating this week. I think it is actually quite ridiculous and is a borderline scam to expect a college student to scrounge up fifty dollars in a two week time period before you DOUBLE it to a hundred dollars. Because if someone cannot come up with fifty dollars in two weeks, it makes perfect sense to then charge them a hundred dollars, because I am sure they have that lying around. Honestly, little parking ticket, it is a good thing that I live at home where I can dig through my mom’s purse to pull together all the nickels and dimes that paid for this fine. Because not only does the fine increase to 100 dollars in only 14 days, that means that I am now at a high enough “excess” of fines (a grand total of one) that my car will be booted by campus security until I fork over that 100 dollars. Which I guess is okay, because as a commuter I certainly do not need my car to get from school, to work, to home every day.

Actually little parking ticket, you actually make me laugh. I think it is comical that I could “run a stop sign” or be cited for “reckless driving” and be fined half the amount that you just fined me the other night. I can do illegal acts with my car and only be fined 25 dollars, yet you expect me to pay 50 dollars for parking on a community street. Meanwhile, I am the community. I live here, I just happen to go to Cairn. Me parking in Penndel’s alley would be no different than me visiting a friend the next row of apartments over. Little parking ticket, I really do not think it is any of your business where I choose to park off-campus, considering I was not inconveniencing anyone. The only person inconvenienced is me, as I am now out 50 dollars during a time when I cannot work as my place of employment is under construction for the next 6 weeks.

Yellow parking ticket, if you could talk, I would certainly ask you where this money is even going. I am taking a hard loss by having to lose fifty dollars in such a short period of time, and yet I have a funny feeling that a collegiate level institution is not running off of parking fines. I am just being honest here my little yellow friend, I do not see this money going anywhere. I give you 50 dollars, and yet the salad in the cafeteria is still wilted, and my tuition is still increasing every year. I hope someone at least gets to eat a good steak with my 50 dollars. At least THEN someone would be benefiting, rather than us all eating Ramen out a tupperware container (which I may or may not be doing as I write you this note).

Little yellow parking ticket, I guess I do not hate you. I am sure you were just doing your job, but I believe that what you are asked to do is at fault. Your requirements are harsh and ungraceful. I understand not wanting to inconvenience the immediate community, but maybe you should consider not crushing your own students in your pursuit of this goal. Just a thought.






P.S. If you feel moved by this sentiment of my thoughts, little yellow parking ticket, consider refunding me my 50 dollars. If you do so, I will give it to my church (which is directly in front of said place where you fined me). So instead of you taking my 50 dollars without purpose, I can give it to the community that you are so bent on being a light to.

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  1. Student
    September 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    While I understand the frustration of parking tickets and the financial burden that they carry with them, I did find this to be disrespectful. You clearly stated that ignorance to the rule does not mean that you are above it and the student hand book, on page 61, does state that parking on residential streets will result in a fine. Also article 3.9 in the motor vehicle rules and regulations provided by OSS states the same and even goes further to say you should not be parking on residential streets while attending classes or other Cairn functions, while visiting other resident students, or in an effort to avoid having to register their vehicle(s). I am sorry that you got a $50 fine and I do wish that it would have been a warning however i find that writing a school article about your frustrations, whether they are shared by other students or not, is childish. It turns the scroll into a gossip page rather than the uplifting newspaper that it should be.

  2. Student
    October 3, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    This post is not disrespectful. The Scroll was put into place to create an outlet for the student’s voice with things that students are concerned about whether positive or negative. This article does not violate anyone and is disrespectful to who? The parking ticket? This article outlines a huge issue that students have with school policy and was done utilizing a very playful anthropomorphism. At no point did the author indicate the OSS officer who gave the ticket or anyone administratively was to blame, it was a creative way to critically think through the issue and present the student’s side of that issue. Journalism often begins a discussion on prevalent topics and has great potential to indicate strengths and weaknesses surrounding different concerns. This article may have been emotionally charged and voiced frustration but that is not indicative of disrespect, gossip, or immaturity.

  3. Student
    October 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I find it to be disrespectful and that is my opinion. We can agree to disagree on that. Tickets are given because people are doing their jobs enforceing policy that we have agreeed to by enrolling in the university. At the root of it all, I find that Cairn students feel entitled. They deserve to park where and when they want. They deserve better meals. They deserve more skips in class. Because they don’t get what they feel entitled too they complain about the source: cafeteria, OSS, professors. Maybe this mindset is just our age group but we are blessed to be here. There are men and women who work daily for us. For me this article diarepected those men and women on the basis of them doing their jobs. Again, these are my opinions. You cannot say that they are wrong.

  4. Student
    October 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I understand that satire is a common way of expressing frustration, and being emotionally charged is not always a matter of disrespect, but I think the disrespect here is not in the mode of the article rather in some of the seeming tactless jabs at the end of the article. Did the 50$ Fine prevent you from tithing to your church? It seemed to me that the end of the article is saying your 50$ fine either prevents you from giving to the church or prevents Cairn from being a light to the community. I think that your church will survive because God is sovereign. And your parking ticket in no way hinders Cairn being a light to the community. So while the whole of the article and its satirical medium isnt disrespectful, the end of it is disrespectful to the University’s mission, because without cause it questions the mission and implies that Cairn is failing due to charging students for breaking rules. … in addition was that fifty dollars already designated for your church? Or did you decide it would be for the church because it makes “the parking ticket” seem anti church, or anti tithing. I don’t think being charged for a violation of rules is purposeless, or anti church. Rather it’s a way of holding us as students accountable to being a light to the community, because there are plenty of people in the community who get frustrated by students parking in community streets, whether you receive those frustrations personally or not.

    • Lydia Hill
      October 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      I feel that I have to clear a few things up in regards to this article. I did not address each comment individually, quite frankly because I cannot figure out how to (this website still confuses me). So bear with me…
      – I do not hold anything against the person who gave me the parking ticket. I do not know, and I do not care to know, who it was because it does not matter. I parked where I was not supposed to, therefore I have to pay the fine. This realization is exactly why I chose not to appeal the citation, because I knew that I did exactly what the ticket accused me of. Given that, I do not think it is fair to call me “entitled” or “childish.”
      – Since this article is satire, and is a letter to a parking ticket, I am not disrespecting anyone. You are free to take the article any way that you chose to, but I personally know that I meant no harm by anyone by writing this. This was a creative way for me to express frustration over a fine, not any specific person or security as a whole. I am calling into question the severity of the fine for one rule, not even the rule itself.
      -In regards to the “P.S” note at the bottom of the article, this is in no way less satirical than the rest of the letter. Overall, the main point of this article is humor. If I was seriously concerned with being refunded my money, I would have never written the request in this type of format (in fact, I feel that this has just further solidified the idea that I will never see that fifty dollars again haha). Obviously I am not seriously suggesting that I am not tithing at church because of a parking fine. I am also not suggesting that the parking fines are “anti-church.” I was only trying to put one last closing, satirical remark about what I could do with the money, in the same way that I commented on the fact that I would not be eating this week. Both comments are over-exaggerated, as I was both fully fed and able to tithe.

      This article is satirical in nature, and I completely expected to receive comments similar to what you wrote. Knowing this, I still chose to post this article because I personally had a clear conscience about it. This is not something that I wrote in the heat of the moment, but was a piece that I put time into (specifically to make it funny and an enjoyable thing to read). If you still feel differently about it than I do, I am not one opposed to correction or edification. I would love to have a conversation about it, but I would prefer to do this in a setting where I know who I am having a conversation with. If not, that’s fine, but know that this is where the conversation will rest.