Son gets parking ticket after using valet for mother's cancer treatment

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A man pays a valet to park his car then gets a parking ticket.

It happened while the man was taking his mother in for cancer treatment. The family wants to know how they got a parking ticket when they never parked the car.
And now they say the parking management won't do anything about it.

"I want to say I've been going through hell," said Gail Wiggins, a chemotherapy patient.

Third stage colon cancer has been grueling for 63-year-old Gail Wiggins.

But she is lucky her son Javon Ainsworth is there by her side. He drives to Detroit from Ann Arbor multiple times a month, picks her up and takes her for chemo treatments at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

"On Monday and Wednesdays every other week I take her to Karmanos and we valet park all the time," said Javon Ainsworth. "No need to park on the street."

That's why Javon was shocked to find this in the mail.

They paid for valet that day, but got a $45 ticket from the city of Detroit for parking in the street in front of the hospital on E. Willis, west of John R.

"When he called and told me about it," Wiggins said. "I was like this doesn't make any sense why would you get a ticket when we always valet."

"Right then and there I knew the valet parking people got me a ticket," said Ainsworth. "I called to claim the ticket."

Javon issued a complaint, but he says the hospital refused to own up to it.

According to an email, parking management did an investigation and they apologized for the inconvenience. But after interviewing valet employees and looking at the evidence, they said they don't accept responsibility or liability.

The mother and son don't know how that's possible when they never parked the car that day. They say they have no problem paying the ticket -- it's the principle.

"I'm not frustrated for the ticket," Ainsworth said. "I'm frustrated for the principle -- you got me a ticket and you don't take liability for it."

"They are very nice but nice has nothing to do with it," Wiggins said. "If it was really busy and you parked on the street, own up to it."

UPDATE: The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center issued a statement on behalf of the institute:

“The Karmanos Cancer Center deeply regrets that one of our patients received a parking ticket after checking into valet. We didn’t know anything about this situation until late last yesterday when hearing from FOX 2. We immediately began an investigation to determine the circumstances that led to a ticket. Regardless of what we find, the ticket has been taken care of and we are letting the family know.

Our patient and her family should not have to face additional stress when battling cancer.  This is not typical of the service that patients can expect when coming for treatment. In fact, high quality compassionate care is what we are most known for in our community."

If mistakes were made, we’ll certainly work hard to correct the process and ensure this doesn’t happen again. We extend our sincerest apologies to Ms. Wiggins and her son.”