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Good Impression
Park visitor's happy surprise

Nothing escapes the watchful eyes of the Methow Valley’s dedicated civil servants. They are professionals who leave no stone unturned in carrying out their duties.

photoPearrygin Lake State Park, still and quiet after a typically bustling summer season.

Just ask Doug MacDonald of Maple Valley, Wash. Last July, he and his wife came to the valley and spent a night at Pearrygin Lake State Park. He duly filled out the envelope stating his car license and model and paid the $10 fee. Trouble was, MacDonald made a mistake.

This mistake was noticed the next morning by Sarah Bergenholtz of Twisp, a college student who was working at the park as a temporary employee. Among her duties was opening up the payment envelopes left by park visitors, and when she saw what MacDonald had done, she notified her boss, “Ranger Rick” Lewis.

Lewis in turn notified the local gendarmes in Winthrop and Twisp to be on the lookout for MacDonald’s car. And sure enough, within the hour Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow turned on his blue lights and pulled over the mystified MacDonald, who was perplexed to see that the police chief was smiling.

MacDonald’s crime? Turned out he was ‘’a big tipper,” as park employees later joshed when he returned to the scene of the crime to get his just desserts. Instead of dropping in a $10 bill, MacDonald mistakenly paid with a $100 bill. They gave him his $90 in change.

“It’s really nothing big,” Lewis told Methow Grist when grilled about the incident.

MacDonald thought otherwise. On December 30 he penned a letter to the director of Washington State Parks and Recreation, Don Hoch, and to Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody and Budrow about what he called an “incredibly ‘good news’ story.”

“In a world full of criticism, I find it refreshing to tell the story of Sarah, Rick and Paul. It’s one of those ‘good news’ stories that makes you feel good about the jobs people do as Civil Servants. I have told this story well over a hundred times,” he wrote. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget!”


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