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Personal Narrative: Amy Garrison

Amy Garrison was 16 years old when she was stopped by a police officer and ticketed for not completely stopping at a stop sign. At the time, Garrison was working a minimum wage job and living on her own. She couldn’t afford to pay the ticket right away and she decided that when she eventually got the money she would pay it. Later on that same year, Garrison was pulled over again and this time for speeding even though she is adamant that she was not driving over the speed limit. She was driving in a wealthy neighborhood and she believed she and her friend looked suspicious to the officer because they asked, “What are you doing around here?” After receiving the second ticket, she knew she didn’t have the money to pay that one either. She was still working a minimum wage job and wasn’t getting any additional financial support. Considering she got both tickets while she was driving someone else’s car and didn’t own a vehicle of her own, she completely forgot about the tickets.

A couple of years later, Garrison gets pulled over because the car’s muffler is too loud and the officer informs her that her license is suspended and issues her three tickets, including one for driving on a suspended license. She goes to court and finds out that she owes about $1000 for all of her citations. Just like before, Garrison simply can’t afford to pay what she owes and she puts off paying them because she can’t do anything else. Later on, Garrison got pulled over again and ticketed for driving on a suspended license. She was also arrested and spent 15 days in jail.

Years later, Garrison has a daughter and she has to walk a mile and take three buses to get her child to school. When she can finally afford to get a car, she remembers that she still has those tickets on her driving record. With the additional fees tacked on because of the amount of time that has elapsed, Garrison’s total debt is $2000. She can’t borrow the money from anyone in her family so she eventually humbles herself to ask a friend for the money and that’s the only way she was able to start driving again.

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