I had just returned from Montreal where I was buying luggage. There, I watched dozens of people jaywalking…part of the history and cultureof that great city from what I have observed over many past visits.
I had a meeting in Toronto the next day.
Staying by the airport, at the Sheraton on Dixon Road, I decided on a simple dinner. I walked across the street to the Boston Pizza I could see from my bedroom window. My idea was to pick up a pizza instead of having it delivered.
With hot pizza box in hand, and the night air threating to cool my pizza by the second, I faced a red light at the crosswalk.
There were absolutely no cars in either direction. I went past the median and across the entire street. Still there were no cars in either direction…except for the one who apparently was waiting for the red light to change going in the same direction as I was crossing the street.
The Police marked car pulled up beside me and asked if I knew what I just did. I apologized and explained 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 and 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 up my ticket I began to really recognize the silliness of the situation I had allowed myself to get into…a travel writer who at the very least should know better. At the same time I have had many stories related about 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.
I told him that was not in my DNA and left with my now cold pizza.
As I thought about it later, I realized that this officer who requested respect because he was just doing his job, had advised me to break the law.
And so the respect that he was looking for was now drowned out in his own double standard, that I was looking for in the first place because I was not from Ontario.
I can hardly read the writing on the ticket but his badge number is either 2691 or 2091 ov Platoon C of Unit 23. Considering how long he took to fill in the information on the ticket it is not wonder my pizza got cold. But for all that time his writed is so bad that I likely could fight the ticket on the confusion of information.
But for $50 it would not be worth the time or effort.
His name may be Robert but because of his writing I can’t even be sure of his name. Nevertheless there have been lessons 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. Just like you learned in kindergarten.
In the mornings Toronto Star on any given day the list of crimes highlighted in the city seem never ending.
Good job Robert…you fought crime to a standstill. I have even greater respect for the law. Tourists be on your guard. Remember your early life lessons. Or you too will meet a new friend in blue who just makes you want to come back to Toronto again and again.