Arrested For Selling Churros?
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Arrested For Selling Churros?

A perspective on the problems in NYC regarding public transportation, law enforcement, and permits and licences for food vendors.

Churros, black table background, powdered sugar, newspaper used as holder for Churros

Sidenote: This short story and its plot is fiction. However, incidents such as those in the story have been happening more recently, especially in NYC involving food vendors.

"Ok so if I take the downtown D train from 145th to 34th street, I should be there just in time for the interview" I told myself.

I walked into the 145th street subway station, and went to one of the ticket machines to refill my card.

As soon as I turned to walk towards the turnstiles, I saw 2 men quickly jump over its top silver bars, and run down further into the station.

I looked around me, but saw that no one had seen them do it. I then swiped my card and walked through the subway turnstile, and almost immediately made a left and walked down the steps to take the downtown D train to 34th.

As soon as the train doors closed on 125th street, and the train made its way to its next stop, a food vendor announced to the train car's subway riders,

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am selling snacks here, m&m's, skittles, and other candy go for $1.50, and oreos, lays, doritos, and other chips are $1.00. If you would like to buy some food, I will be coming around. Thank you".

He then walked slowly around the train car, carrying the box of snacks.

About 3 stops later, I arrived at 34th street station, and started to walk to the exit when I saw a woman with a churro cart talk with police, I stopped for a second.

"Ma'am, you do know that you are not allowed to sell food in subway stations right?" officer 1 asked. The 2nd officer translated for her in Spanish.

"Yes, but I have to feed my kids" she explained.

"Do you at least have a food vendor permit and license?" Officer 1 asked. Officer 2 translated in Spanish to her.

"No, they're both too expensive. They cost $250, and I have a family to raise; I can't afford that" she said.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry to hear about that, but now you have to leave your cart with us" Officer 1 said. When Officer 2 translated she said "No, I'm sorry I don't have a permit or licence, it's so hard to get a permit these days. Do you know now that vendors are renting their permits for high prices. That's how hard it is to get a permit" she said.

"Ma'am, again I'm sorry to hear about that, but either you give us your cart, or we have to arrest you for illegally selling food without a permit or licence" Officer 1 said. Officer 2 translated, and the woman started to cry.

Officer 1 tried to take the cart away from her, but she held on as she continued to cry. Officer 1 gave another warning, and since she wasn't letting go, both officers put her in handcuffs.

Luckily, a bystander with a phone was standing nearby, and the whole incident was caught on video, and later posted on social media.

I checked my watch, and finding that I was very late, I ran to the site of my interview, making it only a couple of minutes late. I was called in about 3 minutes later.

"Hi Mark, so I saw your application, and was really impressed, especially with your experiences in community outreach, helping the homeless and more. So, why do you want to be a Police Cadet?" the interviewer asked.

"I want to not only bring justice to my city, but the right kind" I responded.

A couple of weeks later, I learned that I got the job.

Further Reading

Bisram "Video of churro vendor arrest sparks outrage"

Otterman "Handcuffed for Selling Churros: Inside the World of Illegal Food Vendors"

Paybarah "Police Face a Backlash After Woman Selling Churros Is Handcuffed"

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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