The tourist in question was carrying a hot pizza…Not the kind that is stolen but a fresh hot one in a box.
I am that tourist and the experience has left an indelible impression about law and order in our biggest city…and a sense of how we find cultural differences in enforcement, not just from country to country, but even city to city in our own country.
I had just returned from Montreal where I was buying luggage, and watched dozens of people jaywalking…part of the history and culture in that magnificent city from what I have observed over many visits.
That very afternoon I had a meeting in Toronto.
Staying by the airport at the Sheraton Hotel on Dixon Road I decide on a simple dinner.
I see a Boston Pizza from my bedroom window across the street and decide to pick up a pizza instead of having it delivered.
With hot pizza box in hand and cooling off in the night air by the second, I face a red light at the crosswalk on my return.
There are absolutely no cars in either direction. I go past the median and over the entire street and still no cars in either direction…except for the one who apparently was waiting for the red light to change.
The police vehicle scares the heck out of me as he rams the brakes just after I had walked a few feet.
He rolls down his passenger window and asks if I know what I just did. I apologize and explaine how I had carefully looked before crossing and why I did so.
I told him I was from out of town and apologized again.
This guy had attitude right from the beginning. I had broken the law and he was giving me a ticket. I acknowledged I had indeed broken the law and tried again to suggest I wasn’t dodging traffic but had made sure it was plenty safe.
I was friendly and asked if he couldn’t let an out of towner off with a warning.
He suggested I should have more respect for a officer of twenty years who was just doing his job.
As he was writing I was recognizing the silliness I had allowed myself to get into…a travel writer who at the very least should know better…but have also heard often of the good deeds of police officers when dealing with petty issues involving tourists.
Then as the officers is giving me the ticket, perhaps appreciating some of the humour I appeared to be finding in the situation, suggested that if I chose not to pay the ticket no one was going to be chasing me for payment.
He underscored that no one would be trying to track me down for this small payment. I am now shocked at this turn of events.
I told him that was not in mm DNA and left with my now cold pizza…believe me he did take a long time to fill out this $35 fine…plus $15 I guess for processing or something.
I am holding the ticket in my hand and don’t want to respond with my real feelings of respect now that he has, in some form of apology, now suggesting I break the law.
But as I thought about it, I realized that this officer who requested respect because he was just doing his job had advised me to break the law.
The respect that he was looking for was now drowned out in his own double standard that I was asking for earlier as a tourist that was not from Ontario.
I can hardly read the writing on the ticket but his badge number is either 2691 or 2091 of Platoon C of Unit 23.
His name may be Robert but I can’t even read his name. Nevertheless it is a lesson learned.
Thank you 2691 for your double standard….and for visitors…whenever you cross the street look both ways…and make sure the light is green.
In this mornings Toronto Star the list of crimes covered in the city seemed never ending.
Good job Robert…I met a new friend that just makes me want to come back to Toronto again and again…and of course recommend the place to all my readers…just like before