This month, A Massachusetts man paid a 42-year-old parking ticket he got in York, Maine, while on a day trip to get some ice cream back in 1978.
It was a beautiful July morning when Gary Urgonski, then 30 and living in Newton, made the drive to “just casually get an ice cream” on the Maine coast.
However, the frivolity of the day came to an end after he parked his car at Long Sands Beach for a “few minutes” too long, he told NECN and NBC10 Boston.
Upon returning to his brand new 1978 Toyota (that he wishes he kept), Urgonski found a yellow slip of paper that turned out to be a $3 parking ticket -- $4 if he didn't pay it within two days.
“Oh boy,” said Urgonski, recalling what he said to himself when he found the fine.
Years went by. Urgonski moved from Newtown to Tuscany to Dennis and started, then retired from, a career in education on Cape Cod.
All the while, the ticket went unpaid, even though it popped up a couple times over the decades.
“I think it was in a book for a while. I had it in a drawer, then it resurfaced a couple weeks ago and I said, I’m just kind of pushing this guilt rock up the mountain,” he explained.
At that point, Urgonski decided it was finally time to make the Town of York whole for his minutes of misdeed four decades ago.
He wrote an apology letter, addressed it to the York Police Department and mailed the letter to the police station, where the items landed in the hands of Lt. John Lizanecz.
“The ticket didn’t match anything we’d used since I came here, and that was 24 years ago,” said Lizanecz, who explained the department initially thought it might be a ticket from 2008.
His second inclination was to give Urgonski a ring.
“He was surprised to get the call. He actually wanted us to cash the check and I told him we weren’t going to do that,” said Lizanecz, adding that both the letter and payment will likely be framed and hung up in the police station lobby.
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Asked what he hopes people take away from the story of his late payment, Urgonski said he was trying to make two main points.
The first: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” The second: “Fun things can be exponential,” which Urgonski explained meant that he hopes others are inspired to perform small acts of kindness in the midst of a stressful moment in time.
As for his next trip to York, Urgonski said he’s looking forward to that and hopes to meet both Lt. Lizanecz and the now-retired police officer who wrote him the ticket and still lives in town.