The road to the impound lot is paved with good intentions.
This morning in Brooklyn the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) impounded a car driven by a Chesed Organization volunteer. The driver was en route to two different hospitals to drop his cancer-stricken passengers at doctors’ appointments.
The Chesed Organization has a longstanding tradition of providing transportation and assistance to people and families battling illness through volunteer work.
Although the vehicle owner told the TLC agent that the car was being used for volunteer purposes, the arresting officer issued the driver summons, impounded the vehicle, and left the passengers on the street. The TLC agent claimed that he was acting lawfully, as motorists are not allowed to charge passengers for rides unless their vehicle is properly licensed.
Of course, given the very nature of his organization, the Chesed driver was not receiving a monetary reward for his service. But the officer alleged that the passengers told him they were paying for the ride before they entered the car.
Councilman David G. Greenfield responded to the situation in disgust, “Clearly this TLC officer had an agenda – to impound cars and collect fines and fees. It’s astonishing that any law enforcement official can be so callous as to leave two sick patients stranded on the way to the hospital.” Councilman Greenfield also called for “a full investigation of this officer’s history and for the TLC to review the policies and procedures these officers must follow.”
In response to the Councilman Greenfield and Senator Simcha Felder’s censure and calls for the car’s un-impoundment, the TLC promptly returned the car to the driver.
Thank you for keeping us safe from the law-abiding philanthropists, New York authorities.