Thursday, August 10, 2006

Paying off a 1946 Parking Ticket--My Role Model...

Everybody seems to have role models in their lives, for me there is clearly one that stands above and beyond them all—my Grandfather. You know who your role model is when you hear their voice of reason before making a decision or wonder what they would have done in the same circumstance once you have made a decision. A story was just posted in the St. Petersburg Times about my Grandfather. This exemplifies why I’ve always aspired to be more like him….

$1 and debt-free
William Fogarty doesn't like obligations. So when he found a 1946 parking ticket, he paid it.

Published August 10, 2006

PALM HARBOR - William Fogarty doesn't know what the fuss is all about.

He simply forgot to pay a parking ticket. When he realized the oversight, the 86-year-old Palm Harbor retiree made good and mailed in the money order.

Why the hoopla?

It was for a $1 parking violation that occurred 60 years ago.

"My father always taught me to pay my debts and any obligations," Fogarty said Wednesday in his home office. "At my age, when I go out of here, I don't want to owe anyone a dime."

In May 1946, while his black 1935 Ford coupe was parked outside a Norfolk, Va., movie theater, Fogarty received a parking ticket. He bought a $1 money order to pay the fine. But soon afterward, he was discharged from the Navy, and somehow forgot that the money order was in his wallet.

About a month ago, as he was looking through a box of collectibles from his Navy days, Fogarty discovered a three-fold leather wallet that first belonged to his younger brother. Fogarty carried the wallet after his brother, Edward, was killed in 1944 while fighting the Germans in Italy.

The wallet still had the impression of the jump wing insignia his brother pinned inside and a picture of Jesus. The $1 money order was tucked in one of the folds.

Fogarty penned a letter to the Norfolk police and enclosed his debt. The money order was dated May 14, 1946.
"So belatedly I am enclosing the Money Order," Fogarty wrote. "I hope you will forgive me the long delay in sending it to you."

Sixty years ago, violators paid tickets on the honor system, said Norfolk police Officer Chris Amos. There was no way to track who was issued a ticket.

Fogarty's money order will not be cashed, Amos said. Instead, it was sent to the Police Department's museum, where it will be framed and displayed.

"It's one of those restoring your faith in mankind things," Amos said.
The recent discovery has made Fogarty, a father of two, a debt-free man again. The find also brought to attention a family heirloom, the wallet.

"I'm passing it on to my son with my other mementos," he said.

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