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Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Bill Sticker and the case of the missing Blue badge

The scene on a typical grey English morning was a previously deserted Disabled bay, only frequented by wind blown litter and scattered hopes. I pulled out my notepad and noted the sign needed cleaning. Otherwise it was okay.

Checking off the location on my hand held computer, I slid it back into its hiding place in my coat pocket. The radio was quiet, too quiet for my liking. Just in case I flipped the call button. “This is 515 for a radio check. Anyone out there, over?”
“507 responding 515. You getting lonely out there?”
“Just seeing if youse guys is awake, is all.”
“Naw Bill. You just keep on goin’ - we’ll call yer if we needs yer.” So much for feeling wanted. I carried on walking, watching for people who showed signs of pulling up on my double yellow lines. No one did.

From half way down the street I see this guy pull into the disabled bay and lock up his vehicle. He looks in his fifties, pretty spry but that’s no clue. There’s no one else with him. He walks briskly (Too energetically) up the street and passes me as I’m talking to a cabbie who’s whinging about people parking in the ranks (As usual). Hmm. Following a hunch I backtrack to the disabled bays and guess what? The guy don’t have no disabled badge, so I take his details and I’m just about to print when:

Driver (Out of breath from running) “What are you doing?”
515 “Issuing a Penalty charge notice sir.” Gee is this guy dumb.
Driver “You can’t do that!” I know what’s coming now “I’m disabled!”
515 “That is as may be sir, but you are not displaying your disabled badge in a clearly marked disabled bay.” And you can run like Bugs Bunny on steroids.
Driver “I’m telling you I am disabled!”
515 (Printing ticket and signing it) “Tell you what sir, you write in to my office and produce your blue badge and they’ll cancel this ticket.”
Driver “I’m going to complain!” Sure you are blue eyes.
515 “Please do sir, just say you spoke to officer 515.”
Driver “I’m disabled!” But you just broke the world 100 metres to tell me that.
515 “But I can’t see your disabled badge sir.” ‘Cause you’re not levelling with me sweetheart.
Driver “Isn’t my word enough?” Oh really. Spare me.
515 “To you sir, possibly.” Places ticket in envelope on windscreen and takes picture in situ. “But I can only go on what I observe or do not observe, sir.” I give the Driver a bright brittle smile. “You are parked in a disabled bay without clearly displaying a blue disabled badge. Whether you are disabled or not is not something I am qualified to judge.” Pause half a beat. “The challenge procedure is on the back of the ticket. Good day sir.”
Driver “So you won’t take it back, then?”
515 “Once it’s on the windscreen and logged it’s out of my hands sir. You have to take it up with my office.”
Driver “You can’t do that – I’m disabled!”
515 “You might say so sir, but you don’t have a badge to prove it. Good day.” Time to leave this burgh.
Driver “I’m going to complain! You tricked me!” Nice try, but no ceegar. Now go ‘way sonny, you’re bothering me.
515 (Leaves angrily gesticulating Driver) “Good day sir.”

What does anyone else think? I think someone who has been caught like a naughty child with their hand in the cookie jar will say anything to try and get away with it. At no time did the guy offer to produce a blue badge or any other evidence to disprove my observation. I reckon that ticket will stick. Next time he might think twice about using a space he’s not entitled to. Not that I’m holding my breath you understand.

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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