A Vietnam veteran in hospice was recently given a parking ticket for not moving his car – which was parked in front of his own home.
Clevelin Clay, Sr., from Columbus, Ga., served the country for more than 30 years. The veteran checked into hospice several weeks ago, when the side effects from pancreatic cancer became too severe to deal with on his own.
His wife spent every day by his side, but on Thursday, when she arrived, she noticed something different: his car, parked in front of their home, had been ticketed.
The $20 ticket listed “overtime parking” as the infraction.
According to Georgia law, any car that has been left on the street for more than five consecutive days, and that appears as if its driver will not be returning for it, is considered abandoned.
Clay’s children were outraged that something so trivial as a parking ticket interfered with their last days with their father.
“It’s just the principle of the whole thing,” Clevelin, Jr. said, “and we felt the same way before my mom would just pay the ticket. There’s no guilt to admit to, to pay the ticket.”
Furthermore, the family’s attempts to fight the ticket proved futile: without Clevelin, Sr.’s presence, Clevelin’s family couldn’t fight the ticket.
“There’s nothing we could do about it. The only way we could fight it is if my dad went to recorders court to fight this parking ticket, and so we should just basically take it,” Clevelin, Jr. added.
As WRBL reports, a neighbor had reportedly called the police and complained about the car.
Neighbor Nelson Sanderlin noted that he saw an officer writing the ticket on April 28. Sanderlin’s attempts to describe Clevelin, Sr.’s condition were no help.
“I said, ‘but he’s in the hospital. He hasn’t been able to do it because he’s been in the hospital. He’s terminally ill, and his wife doesn’t mess with the car at all,’ and the police officer gave me just a smug look, and threw his hand up in the air, and went back to the car and pulled off,” Sanderlin recalls.
Clevelin, Jr. added that the ticket was a “complete slap in the face.”
“My dad fought for this country over 30 years,” Clevelin, Jr. said. “He fought for people who couldn’t fight for themselves, and that’s what he taught us. Right now, my dad, he can’t fight for himself, so we’re fighting for him.”
“He’s done enough fighting for what’s right. It’s not the amount of the ticket. It’s for what’s right,” he said.
Clevelin, Sr. passed away just minutes after WRBL spoke with his children.