Limo Street Tales: Going To Jail for A Parking Violation?

Jim Luff
Posted on December 7, 2016

Image from Jeff Djevdet via Flickr.com under Creative Commons license
Image from Jeff Djevdet via Flickr.com under Creative Commons license
I was driving a group of ladies celebrating a bachelorette party. We arrived at a popular nightclub. I parked at the front of the club in a red zone (a common thing with chauffeurs). As I opened the rear door for my passengers to exit, I could see they were finishing their cocktails. I closed the door and stood by the door. A police car rolled through the parking lot. The officer pulled up next to me and told me I needed to move the limo away from the red zone.

I explained to the officer my passengers were finishing their drinks and would be going into the club. Then I would move the limo to the front of a nearby Jiffy Lube. He told me I needed to move the car right now. I asked him to give me five minutes and I would move. At that point he asked me if I wanted to get a ticket. “Really?” I asked. "I'm asking for five minutes. Why are you making such a big deal about this?”

At this point, he got out of his car. The girls opened the limo door and I walked over to extend my hand and assist them out of the limo. He walked over and asked me if I wanted to go to jail tonight. I ignored him and once my passengers were out, I told him I was moving the car. He told me he would follow me to issue a citation. At that point, I asked him to call his sergeant as he was clearly in over his head and abusing his authority. He obliged and spoke into his radio asking for a sergeant to respond for an "uncooperative limo driver.”

Minutes later another patrol car entered the parking lot at a high rate of speed and pulled up nose to nose with my limo with me standing between the two vehicles. The sergeant jumped out of his car and said, “I knew when I heard the call it must be you.” He pulled out $100 from his pocket and asked if he could give me a deposit for a limo to pick his mom up at the airport for Thanksgiving the following week. He went on to tell the officer he shouldn't write me a ticket. He told the cop I offered 50% discounts to all cops, sponsored the local police memorial run, and volunteered my time at the Police Activities League to serve at-risk children and I was a "friend to the department.”

Once the officer heard my last name, he told me our kids went to the same school and his wife threw our daily paper each morning and we lived a block apart from each other. Well, that was that for now.

In May of the next year, the same cop called me at my office. Our kids were graduating from 8th grade. He wanted to know if he could get the 50% off deal for his daughter. I told him there was one condition he must meet. "If you see a limousine parked in a red zone and the chauffeur is standing next to it, just keep driving. I don't care if it's a limo from my company or any other local company. Don't hassle chauffeurs just to hassle them.” He agreed to the terms.

On a side note, two years later I came upon the immediate aftermath of a crash involving a police car. As the engine on the police car had a small fire going, I ran to the driver's door to check on the officer. Guess who it was? Yup, it was him, the same officer. I helped him out of the car and we waited for emergency vehicles to arrive.

Related Topics: customer service, Jim Luff, law enforcement, operations, regulatory enforcement, Shop Talk blog

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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