We saw a photo on Facebook on Friday of what looks like a parking ticket that the poster found on his car, but it’s not a parking ticket.
A note at the bottom of the paper slip advises, "Remember, things are not always what they seem."
Rather than a reprimand with a demand to pay a fine or appear in court, this white slip, with the seemingly tell-tale orange streak across the top, is, in fact, a kudos – a "job well done."
It is a "Parking Compliment."
But, damn if I don’t want to approach my car to see this thing stuck under my windshield wiper gently flapping in the breeze. The notation telling me to "keep smiling," because I will reach my goals, would be small consolation for that sudden jolt of unnecessary stress.
But, I get it. Someone is trying to do something nice.
That someone, however, is NOT the City of Milwaukee.
"DPW Parking Services is not issuing these 'parking compliments'," says Sandy Rusch Walton, who is communications manager for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works.
The ticket bears the address 273 E. Erie St., which is the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. The official-looking document has an "officer name," a "payroll no." and other seemingly on the level data.
Walton says she hasn’t seen these latest examples, but they are similar to ones seen previously.
"A few months ago, another news outlet sent us a sample ‘compliment ticket’ full of typos," she tells me.
"Same area, though, in the Third Ward – near MIAD. We don’t know who was issuing them. One thought was that it was a MIAD student project."
This example also has at least one typo – the word "certifices" instead of "certifies" – but we're not sure if it's from the same source as previous examples.
One potential upside to having one of these on your car if you did let your meter lapse, suggested one co-worker, is that a parking checker might think you've already been ticketed and move on, potentially saving you from getting a real ticket.
While folks definitely enjoy a nice compliment, I think in the case of parking, no news is the best news of all when returning to one’s satisfactorily parked vehicle.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.