This story originally appeared at LittleThings.
When Andrea headed into the courtroom in March 2017, Judge Frank Caprio told her she had parking tickets dating back to 2004 and 2005 that she wasn’t even aware of. The tickets were adding up, but they only amounted to about $50.
Then the conversation turned to Andrea’s more recent tickets, and that’s when things took a heartbreaking turn.
Andrea revealed that her son had been killed in March 2016. In the wake of her son’s death, the social security office cut her check because her son owed $75 to the state. When Andrea left the office after sorting things out, she found a parking ticket on her car.
From there, the year only continued to spiral downward. Andrea’s landlord evicted her, and when she came out of court to settle that dispute, she found another parking ticket on her car.
Then, after going to another office for legal services, she ran into a coffee shop for change and when she came out she had gotten yet another ticket.
“It’s like I can’t win,” she tearfully told the judge.
Andrea says she is still paying off her son’s funeral while struggling to collect the funds to pay all her tickets and move into a new apartment. She told Judge Caprio that she is on antidepressants and feels “empty and lost.”
Judge Caprio couldn’t help but be sympathetic toward the helpless grieving mother. However, Andrea never expected what he would do after hearing she’d only leave court that day with $5 in her pocket.