CLEVELAND-- It’s the season for giving, but one woman’s attempt to spread some joy has landed her in court.
“It’s the time to give, the time to get benefits from God,” said 59-year-old Anaam Ighneim.
The Lakewood woman was given a ticket for impeding traffic. She says she got the ticket after stopping her car near the intersection of Lorain and West 117th in Cleveland, the day before Thanksgiving, so she and a friend could help an elderly couple.
Anaam was driving on Lorain when she saw an elderly couple sitting in a bus stop. She said the vehicle in front of her stopped and motioned for the couple to get inside their truck.
According to Anaam, the man was having trouble getting the woman inside the vehicle, so she asked her friend to get out of the car and assist. She also gave her friend some cash to give to the couple.
“I always help people,” Anaam said. “Not financially, I am on disability; my husband is on disability. But as much as I can, I help.”
But just a few seconds after helping the couple, a Cleveland police officer pulled her over.
“He put his flash on and started screaming at me, 'you can't do that.' I said, 'let me explain. I am just helping these people and he said no explanation necessary,'” Anaam said.
The ticket she received cites ordinance number 433.04, which is impeding the flow of traffic. The officer also wrote in the remarks section that the woman had stopped and blocked intersection and passenger donated money to pedestrians.
Anaam and her friend said the couple did not ask for any money. They both are surprised that Anaam received a ticket.
“I mean I was shocked,” said Amy Lee, who was the passenger in Anaam’s car. “I got tickets before, but for helping somebody out, never in my entire life. She didn't believe it and I know I didn't believe it.”
Cleveland police declined to comment since it is a pending case, but said people need to be careful not to impede traffic because that can cause accidents to happen.
“It’s time for giving and sharing and he shared a ticket,” Lee said.
Anaam does plan to challenge the ticket in court, but says the citation won’t stop her from giving this holiday season or in the future.
“That is not going to stop me, no, no. I am a believer. I don't care what they do; I am a believer,” Anaam said.
She is due in Cleveland Municipal Court next Wednesday. If convicted, she could face up to a $290 fine.