With the stress of midterms and work, the last thing Kevin Lor wanted to see was a parking ticket on his windshield. But one Friday morning in October, the junior anthropology major knew he had taken a risk.
Running late and with a presentation due in class, Lor parked in a carpool parking stall just before 10 a.m. General parking in that lot does not begin until 10:30 a.m.
“It was very surprising because before, I would park there for weeks around 10 and nothing really happened,” Lor said. “Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t.”
Lor is a dishwasher and busboy at a local restaurant. He said his paychecks go straight to bills. Anything left over is from his tips.
“I was already stressing out on financial issues. How was I going to pay my bills?” Lor said.
Last semester, he had also gotten a parking ticket. He turned to GoFundMe, a fundraising platform, to raise the money. After reading other posts on the website, Lor felt guilty. He said his need for cash was not as severe as some others published online.
So he decided to take down the post and paid the first citation off himself. One semester later, he was in the same situation, and now more than ever he needed the help.
Amy Luna, manager for emergency operations and business continuity, said the cost of parking tickets is based on what other California State University campuses are charging.
She said since 2011, the cost of tickets has not been raised.
If a student can’t afford to pay the ticket, Luna said students can follow the appeal process, which puts the fine on hold during the citation review.
“There is also pending legislation regarding payment options for parking citations.,” she said.
Luna said that between Jan. 1 and July 1 of this year, 6,342 citations were written, and if a ticket is appealed, they review it on a case-by-case basis.
Unable to pay his ticket, Lor decided he would post another GoFundMe request. This time, he was honest from the start.
“Got a parking citation, broke college student please help,” read a portion of the post.
He went on to explain that even though the citation was for $50, he was going to raise $53 to cover the fee GoFundMe charges users. Any leftover, Lor said, would go towards coffee in order to survive midterms week.
To his surprise, Lor had $60 in his account within a couple of days. The donations were from close friends and their family members. He said he’s very thankful to those who donated.
“It’s not the value of how much they donated, it was the action that they took,” he said.
He had never shared the GoFundMe post on his social media pages. Instead, his friends helped get the word out.
All in all, Lor learned a lesson. He said he will be more cautious when it comes to parking on campus. And, he no longer plans to use GoFundMe in order to pay for another ticket.
“I don’t want it to become a habit, and I don’t want to take money from other people where it could go to a great cause,” Lor said.
Staff writer Jessica Johnson contributed to this story.