Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Man, That's Harsh - Even for the PPA

A dad needed to carry his injured kid into her school. Next time, maybe he should let her walk in on her steam?

Man, That's Harsh - Even for the PPA

We all have our own Philadelphia Parking Authority horror stories. This is Kevin Mill's tale of mean-spiritedness, from a PPA enforcement agent named M. Sadowski.

Last week, Mill's adorable  9-year-old daughter, Kaya, broke her ankle when jumping down the steps at Carnell Elementary School at Devereaux and Summerdale in the Northeast, where she's a third-grader. She got herself a nifty cast but was still unsteady on her crutches  - especially on steps - when she returned to school on June 11th.

So Mills, being a good dad, drove her there, parked the Nissan Quest at the curb out front, switched on the hazard lights, carried Kaya up the steps and into the school and returned, minutes later, to find a $36 ticket for Parking in a School Zone.

Ok, fair enough. How was ticket-writer M. Sadowski supposed to know that Mills was playing medical-transport driver for his injured kid?

Three days later, Mills needed to drive Kaya to school again. This time, he left a note on the windshield stating, "My daughter is on crutches. I'm taking her into school. Be back in a minute."

He hoped for understanding. But, as this photo shows, ticket writer M. Sadowski was not moved by Mills' fatherly concern. Maybe Sadowski thought, "If I cut slack to one parent trying to help their injured kid, pretty soon EVERY parent is gonna want to help their injured kid. Hell, no - not on MY watch!"

"I didn't really know what my alternative was," says Mills, who - duh -  plans to appeal both tickets. "Kaya needed to be carried. It didn't make sense to carry her for blocks."

I hope the hearing examiner feels the same way.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

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Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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