Hazel Braithwaite found this under the window wiper of the United Way company car on Wednesday after she parked too long during a meeting. It was another random act of kindness in Victoria, this one a thank you to the United Way of Greater Victoria. (Hazel Braithwaite/Twitter)

Hazel Braithwaite found this under the window wiper of the United Way company car on Wednesday after she parked too long during a meeting. It was another random act of kindness in Victoria, this one a thank you to the United Way of Greater Victoria. (Hazel Braithwaite/Twitter)

United Way car enjoys free parking thanks to kindness of a stranger

Act of kindness saves Oak Bay councillor from parking ticket

It was a win-win Wednesday for Hazel Braithwaite and the United Way car, capped off by a stranger’s random act of kindness.

With her own Smart car in for repairs, Oak Bay Coun. Hazel Braithwaite, who works for the United Way Greater Victoria, used the charity’s car to participate in the Bike to Work Week Commuter Challenge.

Last year Braithwaite won the commuter challenge ‘race’ against former mayor Nils Jensen and former councillor Michelle Kirby. This time she lost to avid cyclist, Oak Bay Coun. Andrew Appleton.

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“I almost won it, I made a tactical error, a wrong turn that I think lost me the race,” Braithwaite said. “Andrew deserved to win.”

Of course, anytime a driver loses the Commuter Challenge it’s a win for Bike to Work Week, as they continue to make the point that cycling is an easy option and better for the planet. The 25th anniversary Bike to Work Week runs May 27 to June 2.

Later that day Braithwaite managed to find street parking on Gordon Street right around the corner from the United Way office. Unfortunately, she left her phone, and the trusty City of Victoria parking app, in her office during a meeting. If she hadn’t, she could easily have added time to the meter.

“When I came out of the meeting I realized I had missed out on filling the meter and I was thankful that I didn’t get a ticket,” Braithwaite said. “Then as I was driving away I saw paper flapping on the windshield and and thought, ‘oh no, I did get ticketed.’”

Turns out it was not a parking fine but rather a new parking ticket with a note on it.

“You’re spot had expired… so we paid so you wouldn’t get a ticket… thanks for all you do for the community.”

Braithwaite immediately recognized it as a “total act of random kindness,” a trend that is well documented thanks to social media.

The United Way car is actually a loaner donated from Dave Wheaton GM and the gas is provided by Peninsula Coop.

“It’s even nicer that they know we’re a not-for-profit, that we do all these good things in the community and that they didn’t want us to get a ticket and have to pay for it,” Braithwaite said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com