A Melbourne doctor working on the front line with coronavirus patients has avoided paying a parking fine after a kindhearted stranger paid it for her.
Dr Katarina Arandjelovic, an anaesthetic registrar at Royal Melbourne Hospital’s intensive care unit, sparked outrage when she shared how she had been slapped with a $99 fine after a gruelling shift on Monday night.
In a social media post she blasted the City of Melbourne council and Lord Mayor Sally Capp for targeting essential workers during the pandemic.
Her post was flooded with hundreds of comments from people offering their support.
But a kind local man Brent Hodgson, from Hawthorn East, went a step further with his appreciation by paying the fine himself.
‘This is paid now (receipt number EPY6579380… FYI, the barcode says more than you might expect.) Keep doing what you do, and don’t let this eat your time or energy,’ he wrote.
His gesture was met with a flurry of support online, with Melburnians saying he deserved a ‘top bloke award’ and calling for the money to be refunded.
The random act of kindness forced the council to backflip by reviewing and revoking the fine, with Mr Hodgson understood to be in line to get his money back.
‘Sorry we missed the mark on this tweet Dr Katarina Arandjelovic. Given your critical role, we have withdrawn the fine. Royal Melbourne Hospital is being provided with additional frontline worker permits,’ it wrote on Twitter.
The City of Melbourne told Daily Mail Australia that from this Friday, it will provide up to 5,000 additional temporary parking permits to frontline workers responding to COVID-19.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the new passes mean that up to 15,000 permits will have been issued to frontline workers in total.
‘Health workers are doing an amazing job at this difficult time. We understand they are playing a critical role saving the lives of many Victorians who have been diagnosed with COVID-19,’ the Lord Mayor said.
‘We are printing thousands more green dashboard stickers to support frontline staff responding to the pandemic.
‘If you believe you got a ticket when you shouldn’t have please get in touch with the City of Melbourne and we will follow up.
‘We also recognise the impact this is having on some residents, who are experiencing a higher volume of cars parking in the streets making it difficult for them to find a park.’
The extra permits will be made available to hospitals based in the City of Melbourne, Victoria Police, and medical staff working in other COVID-19 related areas.
Hospitals rake in tens of millions of dollars a year from their car parks. At some of Melbourne’s biggest hospitals fees jumped 25 per cent in three years.
Staff are often given discounted rates but at $99 a fortnight at Royal Melbourne Hospital the fees add up over the year.
Melbourne nurse Paige Wilson started a petition calling on premier Daniel Andrews to make parking for medical workers free across the state as healthcare workers have been told to avoid public transport to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
That means most have to drive to work – and often it’s a struggle to find a parking space within hospital grounds.
‘Myself and my colleagues are gravely concerned about traveling on public transport whilst community transmission is so high,’ she said.
‘Particularly in Melbourne, a lot of car parks are closing and my colleagues and I are wondering where we can park from now on without it costing a fortune.’