Last Tuesday I was driving fast because I was trying to get to work on time. A cop stopped me and gave me a ticket for speeding. He said I was driving twenty miles an hour over the speed limit. When I got to the client’s house, I couldn’t find a place to park so I parked in a restricted area. I came out of the house at the end of the day, and I discovered a $50 parking ticket on my windshield. How can I get reimbursed for these work related expenses?
—Having a Bad Day in Chicago
Dear Having a Bad Day,
Driving fast is nothing new. The Romans had chariot races over two thousand years ago in the Circus Maximus in Rome. Teams of drivers, dressed in colored tunics covered by corsets of leather bands, drove their chariots around the track.
Americans have always had this fascination with vehicles and speed. Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was thirty-six when in 1774 he took delivery of a sporty, two-seater, horse drawn carriage called a phaeton. The term “phaeton” is derived from Phaethon, son of the sun god Helios in Greek mythology. Phaethon drove the sun chariot so recklessly across the sky that Zeus brought him down with a thunderbolt. Nelson’s phaeton was quite a contrast with the ox carts, sturdy wagons, and stately carriages of the day. It gave the appearance of being fast and dangerous.
Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line produced Model T brought gasoline powered cars to the masses. These cars replaced horses and ushered in a series of vehicles which captivated the public. Speed and power were the common themes of the muscle cars, race cars, drag racing, Indianapolis 500, and NASCAR.
Sometimes the appearance of the vehicle is more important than its speed. The current trend of “pimping the ride” is an example. Young men buy old cars, do extensive body work on them, give them new paint jobs, add expensive low-profile tires, chrome rims, and ear-shattering sound systems.
What excuse did you give the police officer when he stopped you? Maybe you said, “I was going downhill, and my car picked up speed.” I hope you didn’t say, “No way I was going any faster than 80.” Maybe you blamed your vehicle by saying, “My speedometer wasn’t working.” Maybe you blamed the highway by saying, “I wasn’t familiar with the road.” Maybe you actually told the truth and admitted you were speeding because you were going to be late for work.
The police officer who stopped you for speeding was obviously not impressed by your excuse. He gave you a ticket.
The company is not responsible for your having a lead foot. The company will not pay for your speeding ticket. Likewise, the company will not pay for your parking ticket. It is your responsibility to find a legal parking space.
Try leaving the house twenty minutes early to allow for unexpected delays. You will arrive on time feeling fresh, not frazzled. Leave the speed to the professional race car drivers.
Note: First published on American Home Health's news, February2012