Pay it Forward

The other day I was parked on Thurlow and Alberni on a beautiful Saturday Vancouver afternoon. The sun was shining bright and high and people were all out enjoying the brisk, chilly day. We all know how often these spots of sun come around to Vancouver in the winter so it was nice to get a break from the dreary greyness that envelops our city every day between the months of September to April. I usually walk on such a nice day, but I’d just dropped off a friend and was craving some ramen to cure the massive hangover from Friday night.

I parked on the street, dumped 50 cents in to park for 14 minutes and ran across the street to Benkei and ordered the usual Akoani ramen with an extra egg. (mmm…) As I’m crossing the street with my alcohol drowned brain day dreaming of the warm and wholesome hangover remedy ramen that I would inhale in about 10 minutes, I saw a parking attendant writing a ticket at my machine.

ME: ‘Scuse me, are you writing a ticket for this car? (points to my car)
HIM: Yup. I sure am. (head down, still punching away at his mobile ticketing gadget)
ME: Oh man, I put 15 minutes in there. I didn’t think it was that long I took to get take out. (points to my food)
HIM: Reds flashing, so it’s been longer than 4 minutes that it expired. (points to the machine)
ME: Aw man. I’m sorry, I didn’t think it would take this long. (Gave up already, didn’t have the energy or brain power to argue with a parking dude over $35.)
HIM: (turns to me and looks at me for the first time) Tell ya what. I’m on a coffee kick cuz I just had my first cup and the suns out. I’ll give you a warning if you pay the time you went over.
ME: Really? Yeah I can do that!
HIM: You also have to do something SUPER nice for a total stranger today. I won’t know if you do or not, obviously, but you’ll know!
ME: Oh man, For sure I will!

I thanked the guy and put in a toonie into the machine, giving the next person who parked there some free time. We chatted for a bit more and I got into my car and took off. He handed me a ticket with ‘Warning’ printed on it and I magneted it to my fridge as a reminder.

Eating the ramen at home later tasted amazing. Not only had I gotten out of a parking ticket, but now I have an amazing story to tell, and one that revitalizes my faith in humanity and the niceness of some people out there. If we can all go out there and do one nice thing for a total stranger today, the world would be a nicer place with happier people and one day karma will pay you a visit.

Quick side story: My 2004 Suzuki GSX-r 600 motorcycle was stolen outside my office one day. I worked in Yaletown and when I got off work, I walked out to the parking spot and she was gone. Stolen in broad daylight in a busy area. I touched the space it was supposed to be occupying (maybe it’d turned invisible?), I’d walked around the block a few times (maybe I’d parked it somewhere other than where I parked everyday?) and finally gave in to the fact that I’d been ripped off, and with no ICBC theft insurance either, so it was simply just…gone. It was a sad, sad walk home with my helmet clutched in my hand. FOUR years later, after I’d gone through 2 other bikes, I got a call from the police. They’d found my original bike and it was in great condition. Apparently the thief had gotten arrested for possession of a handgun without a license and when they raided his Chilliwack house, found a barrage of other stolen goods. He’d put 300km’s on my bike and added a new taillight mod to it too. BONUS!! It’s funny how karma works sometimes. He was charged and jailed and I now had 2 bikes.

I’m sure everybody has one of many ‘lucky’ stories to tell. Where somehow, sometimes, things just go your way. I’ve been taught to appreciate everything that happens, that sometimes lucky is just luck, but sometimes its karma’s reward. Think of the times where good things have happened to you, and the next time something happens, do one nice thing for a total stranger and pay it forward. *


Always do good things and expect nothing in return. If you deserve it, Life will find a way to hit you back, in this life or the next.


(*disclaimer: when something bad happens to you, the same rules do not apply. Don’t go out there and do one bad thing to a total stranger. hahaha)

2 responses to “Pay it Forward

  1. Pingback: Parking Tickets in Vancouver | . . Life of Pi . .

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