An eight-minute sit-down turned out to be rather expensive for an 85-year-old German pensioner who was fined €35 ($42) for stopping for a rest at a bus stop in the center of Duesseldorf.
His plight has caught the attention of users of social networks, who are sharing an image of a letter he was sent by city authorities.
HABT IHR DEN VERSTAND VERLOREN!!!@Duesseldorf— HansDampf (@schweizerguy) 26 ноября 2017 г.
85 jährige dementer Herr muss 35€ Strafe zahlen, weil er sich zum ausruhen „8 Minuten“ auf die Bank einer Bushaltestelle am HBF gesetzt hat!!!
BITTE TEILEN!!! pic.twitter.com/plxWSnoAvb
"You did not use the public transport facility at the aforementioned location in accordance with its purpose and used it as a resting place. Public transport facilities… should only be used for public transport purposes," the letter reads.
The official Twitter account of the city of Duesseldorf responded to questions and promised to investigate the matter and rescind the fine if it was issued in error.
Das klären wir in der kommenden Woche und erkundigen uns bei den Kolleginnen und Kollegen. Wenn hier ein Fehler gemacht worden ist, wird der Bußgeldbescheid selbstverständlich zurückgenommen.— Stadt Düsseldorf (@Duesseldorf) 26 ноября 2017 г.
"Is this letter real?" one Twitter user asked; the city answered, "We will clarify this in the coming week and inquire with colleagues. If a mistake has been made here then of course the fine will be withdrawn."
The photo was first published by an acquaintance of the man, who was walking his dog when he stopped for a brief rest.
Armen streicht man in NRW das Sozialticket.— Ali Utlu (@AliCologne) 26 ноября 2017 г.
Ein 85 Jähriger dementer Mann soll 35€ Strafe bezahlen weil er an einer Bushaltestelle sich 8 Min. ausruhte.
Wie kaputt ist NRW eigentlich?#Kaltlandhttps://t.co/KAbvcvFUxe
"Subsidized travel for poor people in North Rhine-Westphalia is being cut. An 85-year-old man with dementia has to pay a €35 penalty because he rested at a bus stop for 8 minutes. How broke is North Rhine-Westphalia actually?"
Ob die Ordnungshüter genausoviel Mut aufgebracht hätten, wenn es sich um eine Gruppe minderjähriger Syrer gehandelt hätte? https://t.co/fnjas6fnBt— HeinrichKrug (@Heinrich_Krug) 27 ноября 2017 г.
"Would law enforcement have had as much courage if it had been a group of underage Syrians?"
On Monday, the city authorities issued an apology for the mistake. The city councilor responsible for law and order issues, Christian Zaum, said that he "would have liked more intuition in this particular case."
#Bußgeld für Ausruhen an Düsseldorfer #Haltestelle #Ordnungsamt entschuldigt sich bei dementem #Rentner https://t.co/Ea4alPZsP8— Ernst Dietrich (@gowcms) 27 ноября 2017 г.
wer vor dem Handeln den "gesunden Menschenverstand" einsetzt, der muss sich seltener Entschuldigen
"Those who use 'common sense' before acting have to apologize less often."
The city authorities told the Rheinische Post newspaper that checks are made by city authorities to ensure that seats at bus stops, particularly in the city center, are used only for their primary purpose – waiting for a bus.
Duesseldorf road regulations state that bus stops are not to be used as areas of rest, play or as a storage space. The consumption of alcohol is also forbidden.
Zaum said the man regularly walks his dog in the area and employees had apparently spoken to him before to warn him against sitting at the bus stop.
"Fines, however, are an absolute exception and I think it's conceivable that this was the first time that a fine has been imposed," he said.