A parking control officer in Wausau, Wisconsin was making his rounds looking for expired parking meters. Just as he was about to write up a ticket — he noticed a noted tucked under the windshield wipers.
Officer Jim Hellrood stopped writing the citation and unfolded the piece of paper — the note read: “Please take pity on me. I walked home…safe choices.” For good measure, the unidentified driver left a smiley face at the end of his plea.
Hellrood was a bit taken aback. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 37,461 alcohol-related accidents in 2016. So, the officer was impressed and grateful for the person’s decision not to drive after a night of imbibing.
Instead of issuing the driver a citation, Officer Hellrood decided to “grant pity” on them and leave a warning instead.
“Pity Granted, Just A Warning,” the Wausau Police Department posted on Facebook Monday. “Parking Control Officer Jim Hellrood can appreciate people making safe choices, and a good sense of humor. That’s why he recently issued a warning to a vehicle left in a metered lot overnight.”
Lt. Cord Buckner, of the Wausau Police Department, said he too was proud of this person’s decision not to get behind the wheel of a car.
“They realized it may not have been a safe choice and risked a citation rather than risk their own safety,” Buckner told CBS News. “We certainly applaud that decision to not drive.”
Parking control officers, such as Officer Hellrood, have discretion on whether or not to issue a citation.
“Ultimately, parking enforcement officers generally take that attitude of trying to educate rather than being punitive,” Buckner said. “They aren’t just doing it haphazardly.”
The Wausau Police Department shared the story on Facebook. They wanted to encourage others to make the same safe decision not to drink and drive. People commended both the officer and the driver of the car for their actions.
Even though Buckner appreciates the praise, ultimately, he just wants people to be safe and make good decisions.
“We’re pleased people follow what we do and take an interest and understand the decision,” Buckner said. “But if you are planning on drinking avoid driving all together.”
The full Wausau Police Department Facebook post is below. The officer, and the driver, both deserve a round of applause.
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