Nova Scotia

Halifax cabbie gets parking fine after helping senior

Frank Lewis was given a $25 parking fine after he stopped his cab to help an 88-year-old woman get in the passenger seat.

Taxi driver says he plans to appeal $25 ticket in court

Jean Brown, 88, says a parking attendant was wrong to give a ticket to the cabbie who picked her up near a mall. (Frank Lewis)

A Halifax cab driver has been fined $25 after getting out of his vehicle to help a senior citizen get into his cab.

Just before 5 p.m.Monday on busy Spring Garden Road, cab driver Frank Lewis pulled over in front of Park Lane Mall. His fare, 88-year-old Jean Brown, was sitting on her walker, waiting. 

"The parking attendant was standing about three or four feet away from her and he saw me coming," Lewis said. "But, it seemed like he had intentions, y'know? He never said a word ... He stood there, and I saw him take out his little electronic writer and he started scribbling."

Lewis had pulled up near, but not directly, at the mall's taxi stand. He said Brown "could hardly stand, and was looking very helplessly with her walker."

I wasn't going to be intimidated.- Frank Lewis, cabbie

He got out of his cab, helped Brown into the front seat, and loaded her walker into the trunk. Before he could pull away, the officer slipped a ticket on his windshield and explained cars weren't allowed to stop there between the hours of 4-6 p.m.

"I knew he was gonna give me a ticket, but I know I was gonna pick her up. I wasn't going to be intimidated."

Brown, who has severe arthritis in her hip, said the parking attendant could just as easily have told her to wait a little closer to the taxi stand. 

Instead, she said, he clearly chose to ticket the first car that he saw breaking the rules. 

"He didn't say anything and he didn't warn the driver," she said. "He was just writing the ticket out. And it happened so quickly."

The $25 parking ticket given to taxi driver Frank Lewis after he stopped to help Jean Brown into his cab. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

While speaking with Maritime Noon, Lewis was asked why he chose "the gentlemanly thing" over sparing himself a $25 fine.

"It's all about discretion," he explains. "The buses are allowed to stop between four and six to pick passengers up on the same street there.... [Cabbies] provide an exact same service: public transportation. We are licensed by the same Municipality of Halifax. We should be allowed to pick people up and drop people off momentarily, same as the bus."

Lewis has already begun filling out the paperwork to appeal the ticket. He now has to wait two weeks to hear back from the municipality. If he goes to court, he says he will fight for what he believes is the right thing.

"This is a handicapped lady, this is a senior citizen. And how can [the attendant] do something like that?...He should be helping her get in the car instead of writing the ticket."

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