Father forced to pay parking ticket he got during son’s birth

Welcome to New York City, baby, now pay up!

Brian Leo found just how cold-hearted City Hall can be when he rushed his wife to the hospital in the wee hours to give birth to their first child, Max, but failed to move his car for alternate-side parking.

Max LeoLeo Family
Instead of flowers or balloons, the Alphabet City father got a $65 ticket. And when he pleaded not guilty, city parking judge Robert Geary ruled against him, saying his son’s birth did not constitute “a sudden, unexpected medical emergency.”

Leo was flabbergasted.

“What’s a medical emergency — you have to have a heart attack at the exact moment?” he asked.

When his wife, Amy, 31, started having labor pains on June 1, the 41-year-old painter called an Uber at 2 a.m. to get to New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Leo said he didn’t want to take the couple’s Ford Explorer, parked on Avenue B, because “I needed to help walk her into the hospital. She was in pain.

“I wouldn’t have been able to be with her if I had to deal with the car,” he said. “I couldn’t drop her off and look for parking and then meet up with her somewhere in the hospital. I definitely wanted to be with her the whole time, so Uber worked out.”

Max was delivered at 8:20 a.m.

“I cut the umbilical cord,” Leo recalled. “I didn’t start bawling, but it was just like joy. It was like being overwhelmed — more than happiness. You fall in love with the kid as soon as he comes out.”

Hospital staff quickly showed the new dad how to swaddle and feed the newborn, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing The new mom passed out hours after giving birth, and was so disoriented she didn’t realize what had happened.

“She was going to the bathroom and when she got out, she got out of the bathroom she just like fainted,” Brian said. “I went over and had to pick her up.”

Going back home to move the car crossed his mind, but Brian wouldn’t leave his family.

“I even joked later that day, like, ‘Max, you owe me money for that parking ticket,’” he quipped.

But he was surprised when he received notice this past week that his not-guilty plea, which included hospital documentation of the birth, was rejected.

“The summons was issued at 11:15 a.m., approximately two hours after the baby was born,” Judge Geary wrote in his verdict. “This is not a persuasive medical emergency defense, as there is
no persuasive testimony or evidence of a sudden, unexpected medical emergency at the time the summons was issued.”

“It’s the principle of it,” Brian said. “Judges should know, if the kid is lucky enough to have a father there, the dad being present is just as important as the mother.”

The city Department of Finance, which handles parking tickets, said Leo can appeal Geary’s decision.

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