Drivers know few things can put a bad taste in their mouths as quickly as a parking ticket.
"It's the worst. It puts a bit of a damper on your day," said Jessica Savage said, owner of Tia Maria's European Caf.
Savage's bakery is now offering free pastries to patrons who prove they were ticketed in New Bedford that day. Savage says it all started with complaints from her regulars.
"They were huffing and puffing explaining they just got a parking ticket. So, from there I was like, 'Let me cheer you up. Here's a pastel de nata,'" Savage said.
"It is a little frustrating working downtown and not having any designated free parking," patron Taylor Allen said. He's one of the regulars who helped get the free pastry idea off the ground.
"I've probably averaged at least one or two tickets a week," Allen said.
The pastries -- pastel de nata -- are traditional Portuguese-style treats. Savage, like many in New Bedford, is first-generation Portuguese in the United States.
"It puts a smile on your face. You can come get a pastry here at Tia Maria's," Allen said.
As if you needed proof that no one is safe from the meter maid, during our interview Savage herself got hit with a $10 ticket. She cashed it in immediately eating some pastel de nata.
Savage said she hopes the treat will turn her customers days around while increasing turnover at Tia Maria's tables.