To this veteran, a debt is a debt, even a $1 parking ticket

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As promised, a Houston Army veteran made good on a 58-year-old parking ticket on Wednesday, handing over $1 to Houston Mayor Annise Parker. He received the ticket Feb. 3, 1953.

“That parking ticket is older than I am by a few years,” Parker joked to Dale Crawford, 79, during a news conference after the City Council meeting.


Crawford had received the ticket the day he was inducted into the U.S. Army at age 21. And although he could have let it slide, his conscience wouldn’t let him.

On Wednesday, Crawford, standing beside his wife, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, gave the mayor a dollar bill and received a round of applause from onlookers.

“It’s only a dollar and it’s almost 60 years old, but it’s still a debt and I feel debts ought to be paid,” he said, adding that his parents taught him not to have debts outstanding and, “I guess some of that rubbed off on me.”

In return, Parker gave Crawford the original ticket, noting the city made a copy. The mayor said Crawford’s ticket would be $35 if issued today.

“We are so impressed with him coming forward that we have waived penalties and interest,” she said.

“Well, my wife will be glad to hear that,” Parker said.


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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston