When I first moved to LA, post-quitting my nanny job and before I started at Conde, I babysat for an assortment of families all around the LA area.
One of these families, based in West Hollywood/Miracle Mile area had two children that I took to the Auto Museum one day. I drove their car and parked on Wilshire around 2:30 PM. We had a pretty good time drawing pictures and drinking milkshakes, until it occurred to me that I never checked the parking perimeters. For some reason I knew at 4PM something changed. It was 4:20. In a full panic, I dragged both kids down the street to their parents car that was literally moments away from being put onto the bed of a tow truck.
I was so distraught, I immediately started sobbing. Here I was without a job, living in a city that I knew nothing about, begging a tow truck driver to please, please, PLEASE do not load this car also full knowing that regardless, I was going to get a whopping ticket, which probably wouldn’t even been covered by the all-day sitting job that was just supposed to give me enough money to buy groceries to just LIVE.
Somehow, by the grace of God, I got the tow truck guy to leave the car, instead gifting me with a 200 dollar ticket. Thanks bro. It was pretty devastating, not to mention the kids had seen the whole thing, which meant I knew I better tell the parents ASAP because you knew if they heard about it from the kids first, I was going to look like a straight mental case.
So I confessed the whole situation as soon as I got back to their place and told them, they could just consider today free and I would just pay the ticket instead. I saw the pity in their eyes, and immediately felt extremely pathetic and sad for myself. Idiot. You should have checked that sign! Why didn’t you check the damn parking sign?
I was about to leave when the Dad handed me an envelope.
“I remember when I first moved here”, he said. “I lived on the floor for 3 weeks and spent more than a couple nights in my car. Here’s the ticket cost and a little extra. Don’t give up on the reason you’re here… You’ll figure this out.”
Whenever I’m discouraged, I remember that moment. The extreme gratitude I felt. The look on his face. Feeling hopeless and being hopeful. I remember how far I’ve come from the girl who was begging some tow truck driver to please have mercy on me just this once in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard. The kindness of that father despite my carelessness.
The memory of what it’s like to be a hungry 22-year-old living on a dream.
His words echo in my head:
“Don’t give up on the reason you’re here. You’ll figure this out.”