Thursday, February 7, 2013

City Workers Paint Handicapped Space Around Woman’s Car, Tow the Car Away

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Surveillance footage showing city workers in Tel Aviv painting a handicapped spot around a woman's legally parked car and towing her car away has shocked many around the world after it was uploaded to the victim's Facebook page.

Hila Ben Baruch, a local student, wrote in her Facebook post that she had lived on that street for "nearly half a year," so knew well "where I can and can't park."

Which is why when she left her apartment on Sunday to find that her car had been towed away, and a freshly painted handicapped parking space had appeared in its place, she knew something was terribly wrong.

The city was, unsurprisingly, skeptical of Ben Baruch's story, and she was directed to pay her 1,350 shekel (~$365) fine in full.

In a last-ditch effort to prove her innocence, Ben Baruch sought the assistance of a security guard at the building across the street, hoping CCTV footage might help exonerate her.

And sure enough, it did.

"To see and not believe," Ben Baruch wrote in her description of the security feed. "While the car was parked in a white-and-blue [legal] zone, two city hall workers arrived and began painting a handicapped space around the car!"

Two hours later, with the space now designated a handicapped spot, Ben Baruch was written up and a tow truck was called to haul her car away.

Knowing now that she wasn't going to win her fight against the Tel Aviv city hall without a bit of backup, Ben Baruch posted the footage on Facebook.

Within hours, her post had been shared thousands of times, landing her multiple interviews on Israeli television.

And that's when the apologies started coming in.

The municipality was first to issue a statement calling the incident "a severe mistake and a case of incompetence."

Apparently the workers who painted over the parking space were supposed to notify the city inspection department before moving forward, but didn't.

Next, Deputy Tel Aviv mayor Asaf Zamir apologized for Ben Baruch's inconvenience, again putting the blame on a miscommunication between city workers and the parking inspectors' office.

Finally, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai himself posted an apology on his Facebook page, vowing to prevent a similar "mistake" from occurring again.


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