"Just another day at court," I said to myself as I trudged down to Judiciary Square to the Office for Administrative Hearings. I didn't know what to expect -- and I was ready to pay the $150 fine for a loose trash can lid and for leaving the can on the sidewalk at night after trash collection. Actually, this happened in my rental property in Southeast, and my tenant never notified me of the violation. I also was in the service and headed to court with documentation in hand.
So how did it go? 100 times better than at the Traffic Court last week, where I had to pay a $100 fine despite the fact that I was at my car and only five minutes over. The judge was unyielding -- wouldn't even reduce the amount of fine. Not all watches are synchronized. I don't believe parking tickets should be issued within 5 minutes of the violation time. Additionally, parking attendants should show some discretion, and yes, even compassion when the driver is clearly at his vehicle and ready to drive off.
C'mon people, please be reasonable. Perhaps you can treat me like this, but I certainly hope you don't treat our 15 million plus tourists like this. Otherwise, it would take more than cherry blossoms to bring them back.
That's why I was HUGELY pleasantly surprised, when the nice folks at the Office for Administrative Hearings bent over backwards and actively listened to my case. Despite the fact that I arrived one day early (Go figure), was poorly prepared, Mr. Rodney Coffer researched my case, actively listened to me and tried to understand, and resourcefully suggested that I go online and email to them my DD-214. Minutes later, Mr. Darrell Cash came out and informed me that it was taken care of. I was completely floored. Am I still in DC?
What first-class service and the best I've ever been treated by the District of Columbia, bar none. No, it wasn't because the fine was waived -- it was the way they took care of it -- their understanding, their flexibility, their customer service. If more District offices worked this well and exuded such high-caliber customer service compassion, perhaps this city would operate so much better and become the world-class city it aspires to be.
It's cherry blossom time in DC and I really hope the parking attendants exude a little more compassion to our treasured guests next time.