A 2-year-old District of Columbia girl received a citation for littering last week, and the inspector who issued the ticket initially said the fine would not be rescinded, the girl's mother said.
Harper Westover received a "Notice of Violation" in the mail Thursday that stated the toddler was being fined $75 for allegedly littering at the end of the alley near her home, The Washington Post reported.
Along with the notice, officials included evidence of Westover's violation: a discarded envelope with the girl's name that a city worker had found with a bag of trash in the alley.
The piece of mail was from Bucky's Buddies, a children's club in which the girl's mother, Theresa Westover, had enrolled her. The club mails out information and promotions for fans of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Westover's alma mater.
Confident that the city had made a mistake and that officials would resolve the issue once she explained the situation, Westover, an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, called Cheryl Satchell, the waste inspector who issued the ticket.
She told the inspector that her daughter didn’t carry trash bags and that the girl didn’t carry the envelope out of the family's home either.
She also told the inspector her daughter's age and asked that the citation be rescinded.
"The inspector's response was there was a piece of trash in the alley with Harper's name on it," Westover told the Post. "I said, 'I understand that, but she's only 2 years old. Are you willing to rescind the ticket?' She said, 'No' …. They list Harper as a 'violator.' As a mom, it bothered me."
Plus, Westover received her own $75 ticket for littering too. She received it in the mail with another piece of mail addressed to her as evidence.
But Westover said her family doesn't litter. She said every week she or her husband leaves the trash bin outside their home in the alley for garbage pickup.
She also told the Post that a collection truck can't squeeze into the street where the family leaves their trash, so workers come by the alley, take the trash bags from everyone's bins and carry them down the alley to throw in the garbage trunk.
Westover wondered if a garbage man accidentally left the bag behind.
It wasn't until Chuck Westover, Harper's father, posted an image of the citation online and garnered widespread attention that the family heard of the city's plan to resolve the ticket.
Zy Richardson, director of the department's communications office, called Theresa Westover and told her that if she submitted proof of Harper's age, the violation and fine would be rescinded.
"I have to send them a birth certificate," Theresa Westover said. "I shouldn't have had to wait for someone in the communications department to call me before common sense takes place."
A public works official eventually waived both Harper's and her Theresa's violations.
Read more at The Washington Post.
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