Every Thursday, I make a video detailing the insanity of New York City’s alternate side parking. Given the astronomical price of parking garages in New York, a number of New Yorkers have discovered that if you’re willing to sit in your car from 9-10:30AM on Thursdays (or Fridays on some streets), you can move your car out of the way while the street sweeper passes—avoiding a ticket and parking for free for the week. Once he’s gone, you’re safe until the next Thursday at 9AM. It’s glorious, but it’s extremely stressful. As you’ll see if you watch the videos.
I’ve done this series for the past month or so, and I’ve taken a liking to the guy who drives the street sweeper. I didn’t know anything about him beyond that I love him. Whenever he passes my car, I cheer and he gives me a thumbs up or a wave and a big smile. I was one of those children who worshipped garbagemen and construction workers and would get off to getting a wave from them. I guess it’s still in me. Also, something about his face just sits well with me. It’s a kind face, filled with good humor, reassurance, patience… all the features one needs to be a successful street sweeper operator in the busiest, grumpiest city on earth.
Today I learned that I was right to love him as quickly and as deeply as I did. Turns out, he’s a real life superhero:
A 56-year-old woman from Englewood was leaving the mall on the third level of the south parking deck. As she got to her vehicle a man approached her and demanded money. When she said she did not have any money, the suspect attempted to grab her purse. She resisted until he grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground.
She started screaming, and a good Samaritan named Pedro Solla, 48, from New York City heard the victim’s screams and pursued the suspect in his vehicle as he tried to run away.
As Solla turned the corner, the suspect jumped into a green Ford Explorer along with a female passenger. Solla got out of his vehicle and attempted to stop the suspect from driving away.
When he recognized that he was unable to do this, Solla punctured the rear tire of the vehicle with a knife.