I just hugged a traffic warden. I KNOW! I hugged a box office manager too. I’m now far too overwhelmed to do the sensible stuff I had lined up for this morning: practising my new picture book text for a recording session over the phone (I KNOW x 2!) in anticipation of an important Acquisitions meeting tomorrow, and making lentil soup. Heck, no! I had to tell you all about Ticketgate instead. At once.

We’ve all done it. Reached the parking machine to find there’s no change in our purses. Rushed into the nearest shop / cafe / bus shelter and asked for cash-back / begged for 20p on bended knees from strangers. Glanced up amid all this desperate activity to see a neon-coloured traffic warden has materialised from nowhere and is writing your number plate down.

No! No, no, no! Handbag clanging at your side, hurdling talents heretofore undiscovered, you clear the railings in between the parking lanes and rush at the traffic warden wearing your most distraught face. Sorry, ma’am. Ticket’s written. Nothing you can do but appeal to the Parking Office.

“Please officer, there’s been a mistake…”

I’m legendary in Kensington for once bursting into tears on a Terminator-like warden in aviator specs. He tore my ticket up on the spot. This NEVER happens in Kensington. But today’s traffic warden, though perfectly kind and patient, was showing no signs of melting in the face of my tragic disarray.

Cue the orchestral swell. Like a vision burned upon the clouds, the aforementioned box office manager appears. He has a parking permit for me. He hands it over on the understanding that I make a donation to the arts centre next time I’m passing. By jingo, I will! In fact I will go nowhere else, ever, for any form of entertainment or general purchase, be it theatre, cinema, hand-knitted tea cosies, second hand books, Rock Choir auditions or speciality coffee. He has me for life.

In that moment, I actually loved the box office manager. Hence the hug. The traffic warden got the fallout from this upsurge of emotion. Not quite sure what he made of it, but there you go.

AND… relax. Oh, and wish me luck with my appeal.

It’s the small kindnesses that make all the difference to a person’s day. Remember this and pass it on, grasshoppers. Also buy ALL your Christmas presents from the Farnham Maltings this year. They have some sensational stuff.

Farnham Maltings:
my one-stop shop for ever more

2 responses »

  1. Lucy, you were truly blessed and very lucky… you met a saint not a ticket warden!

    I don’t call them wardens I call the VULTURES!!! I have tried a number of appeals to ticket offices to no avail. One of them having been when my son was 6 month months old, was in the carseat, had an upset tummy and acid you know what in his nappy and was wailing in agony. I pulled over on a single yellow in a safe spot to change him and avoid getting a sore acid bottom and was give a ticket!!! Unfeeling B*****d
    The office was having none of of and made me pay! ‘ You should have driven around and found parking’ they said…. Yup , as a mother I’m going to drive for goodness knows how long with an upset child!

    I am currently fighting the case of the ticket which my son spilled juice over,( and my tax returns!) stuck to the letters above it and on peeling off removed the writing. I could therefore not pay it, now tell what t’s number was. The office says wait for the reminder then call us and we will only charge you the original.. Heck will they..they now want £120! ( I was waving manically at warden while getting change in shop for the original ticket to no avail also!!

    I’m ranting, I know but really not my favourite people!

  2. I usually have a few coins in the car for emergencies (except when I have none because I
    had an emergency three months ago and I have not replaced them yet!).

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