Single Mom Faces $1,000 Fine for Storing Her Son’s Unregistered Car – But the Judge Has a Different Idea

Inspiring Stories

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. So when a single mother named Stephanie Bassett stood before a judge and explained why she had put herself in a situation to owe $1,000 one day, he approached the case with kindness and grace.

In the end, this mom wasn’t just thankful. She also reiterated how she wants to be the type of person to help others in the future, too.

A Rough Spot

Defendants who appear on Judge Frank Caprio’s series, Caught in Providence, know about the power of forgiveness. But when they experience the judge’s kindness firsthand, it can be incredibly inspiring.

When Bassett stood before Caprio one day, she shared the story of how she had been trying to help out one of her four sons. The son had obtained a car so that he could work as a delivery person for Domino’s Pizza, but he was still working on his license.

The person the family rented their home from didn’t want the car on their property because it wasn’t plated yet. So, instead of registering the car, Bassett put one of her old plates on the vehicle and parked it on the street until her son could get his license and start his job.

Unfortunately, authorities discovered the old plates, booted the car, and fined her $1,000. Three hundred of that was due the day Bassett appeared before Caprio.

“I’ve been struggling my whole life,” she explained when Caprio asked about her circumstances. “It’s embarrassing for me to have these bills like this, but I have four children, and I’ve been taking care of myself since I gave birth to each of them. I’ve always taken care of them myself.”

A Moment of Kindness

Bassett admitted she knew she was in the wrong, but she was there to take responsibility and show her kids that she should have gone a different route. She knew she had set a bad example, but she wanted to continue doing what she could to provide for them and help them to take responsibility, too.

“The only thing that matters to me is that, with the way the world is, they keep doing the right thing… staying out of the streets, away from the violence,” she said. “I’m learning as I go. This is a big thing to show them that I need to take responsibility.”

Caprio was touched by Bassett and her story and revealed he was going to put $200 from his fund toward helping her pay the fine that was due. Bassett wiped away tears and revealed that one day, she wants to be one of the people who helps others out of bad situations like he does.

“If you straighten yourself out you might be one of those people,” the judge responded.

“This is not who I thought I would be and I know that I can be more,” Bassett continued. “But when I think about it, I’m a great person, and I know I have a great heart. I get into situations like this because I want to help.”

Living in the Gray

This story reminds us that sometimes in life, it’s important to look beyond the black-and-white rules and to sometimes live in those gray areas. This woman was trying to help her son, and while she didn’t go about it in a great way, she also didn’t hurt anyone.

She also clearly learned a lesson from her mistake, which is how we grow and evolve as people. And it’s why the judge gave her a break on her fine.

In life, we can all take that lesson to heart by trying to forgive more easily and by looking at any given situation from multiple viewpoints. Most people try to do the right thing if we give them a chance, which is why it’s important to always lead with empathy and understanding.

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