Friday, April 11, 2008

Ontario makes friends of out-of-town visitors

The April 13, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer reported that Ontario traffic officer Art Terry had recently plugged a nickel into the parking meter for an out-of-town motorist for the ten thousandth time as part of a three-year-old Chamber of Commerce effort to make friends of visitors who stop to shop.

H. L. Logue, secretary of the chamber, said that the business group started the program to make visitors to feel the town is a friendly place to shop, trade or to visit.

As part of the effort, Officer Terry places and envelope under the over-parked vehicle’s windshield wiper explaining the program and suggesting that the visitor can mail a nickel back to help keep it going.

That way the program more than pays for itself because many a grateful driver mails back a dollar, Logue said.

Visitors from nearby towns are expected to put in the first nickel, Terry said, but after that he feeds the meter.

(Editor’s note: The story fails to make clear how Terry distinguishes cars from nearby towns from those far away, though one would guess, with Ontario situated across the river from Payette and Fruitland, Idaho and Oregon cars as a rule were treated differently than those from other states. )

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