Steal My Parking Space And You Will Pay For It!

by admin on October 17, 2011

A few years ago me and my mom went upstate on a “girl’s weekend” away from my dad. One of the things we always do is hit one of the malls, since we live in the FL Keys where malls don’t exist, and so for us going to the mall is probably more exciting than it is for most people. This particular trip was right after a hurricane, and the mall was extremely busy with the holidays coming and with everyone shopping to replace lost belongings, so the parking lot was EXTREMELY full. We drove around for awhile looking for a place, and finally lucked into a place close by one of the entrances where two cars were both about to pull out. So my mom turned on the blinker for one, and there was an SUV waiting for the other.

When the first car pulled out, we pulled into its place, and I heard the SUV driver honk, but didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later when the second car (in the space on our left) pulled out and the SUV pulled in, extremely crookedly and apparently in a hurry. Leaving the engine still running, the driver jumped out of the SUV, stormed over, and began pounding on the driver’s window of our car, shouting that we had stolen his parking space. My mom rolled the window down an inch to tell him she had figured he’d just take the second open space, but he yelled back that we took HIS space, that he’d been waiting for it for a long time, etc, swearing at us and just in a complete rage. Now, this guy was a big guy, I’d guess 200 pounds, muscular, very tall. Me and my mom are both tiny people, only around 5’3, me at only 90 pounds and my mom 110. So we’re both completely freaked out by this dangerous-looking guy screaming at us, (even though his SUV was already IN a parking place! Right next to us! I could understand being upset if we’d taken the last space in the lot, and I can understand being mad about waiting for a spot only for it to be stolen. Maybe I could even understand if losing the spot meant he had to park much further away. But there was going to be another open spot just a few seconds later. So he’s enraged because he ended up in a spot maybe four feet further from the mall than the spot we were in? And is ANY parking spot really worth getting that upset??) He walked away then to straighten out his car and turn it off, and when he did we both jumped out, locked the car, and sprinted for the mall. (We were in too much of a hurry to get away to think of calling the police, which would have been the sensible thing to do in retrospect.)

But that’s not the end of the story. When we came out, we noticed one side of the car had been keyed. We’re pretty sure it was that guy who did it. It was a rental car so it didn’t matter so much, but still…keying our car? Isn’t that reserved for high school break-ups? We shrugged it off as immaturity, got in, and left. At a stoplight just outside the mall, someone pulled up alongside us and told us one of our tires was flat. We pulled into a gas station, and sure enough, it was flat. Someone – and I have a pretty good idea who – had opened the valve. This wasn’t just immature, driving on a low tire is really dangerous and we were about to get on the turnpike, so thank God someone pointed it out to us. We didn’t know how much air to put in and the gas station owner was no help, but a very nice Cuban family who owned a mechanic’s garage down the street helped us out, checked all the other tires for us, calmed us down (we were beyond freaked at this point, things like this just don’t happen in the Keys – and we had never even heard of ‘parking lot rage’ before!), and refused to take any money.

Because of this, (and of a fender bender I got in once in a parking lot), I now park in the empty areas of parking lots whenever I can, even if it means walking a very long way to reach the building.   1118-08

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Cat October 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

I took my 83 year old aunt to a grocery store. She is handicapped so I parked in the handicapped section (with the required documentation visible). As I was backing out, another car pulled in behind me (in the driving lane; it was not for parking), parked, and went into the store.
Auntie lives in the mid-west in a very small town and is unused to seeing people do these things, so she reached over me and blew the horn. I immediately stopped her. The man was much larger than I am and I am a middle-aged woman.

Having grown up with a sociopath, I know better than to blow a horn at one. I explained that he was capable of dragging us both out of the car and beating us to death. (My brother had beaten me in a public parking lot when I was 19. I had asked him to stop repeatedly walking past me and hitting me in the head as he passed me.) It was best to wait until the man finished his shopping and left.

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Serenity S October 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

I don’t blame OP and her mom for being so scared of that man that they just ran into the store. His actions were not excusable. I wish that you had reported him to the police but I assume he left after keying your car and letting the air out of the tire, and you did not know his license plate number. I don’t think that the OP clearly states who was waiting first and I do not think that the man’s actions were justifiable at all, but in future if someone is waiting first let them park first. It is a societal rule like waiting in line at the supermarket.

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Gracie C. October 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Cupcake – aren’t the stories here for us to discuss? If people think that the OP of any post might have played a role in what happened, isn’t it the point of the forum to offer other ways to look at that situation and therefore prevent future incidents? The fact that many people feel the OP should have done something differently might help the OP in future situations.

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Genevieve October 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Having had my own experiences with road rage, I second the advice of just backing out and leaving. There’s no point in inviting trouble. I think the man’s behavior was clearly out of bounds, but I do think OP should realize it does “matter” if a car is keyed, regardless of whether it’s your car or not, someone is going to have to pay for the damage.

One of my favorite comedy sketches about a stolen parking lot :).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb4SBOQLmqw

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Cupcake October 19, 2011 at 3:09 am

I think the stories are here for us to discuss the issues they raise. It is fair to say that the OP may have enraged this man by taking a space that he was clearly waiting for first – that’s relevant, and something she and others could learn from. However, I see no value in comments like “why did you have to point out that the helpful family was CUBAN, is it because you are a racist, huh, huh?” – I don’t think the man in the carpark acted the way he did because he knew that she would notice the ethnicity of a family she would meet later that day, or because he thought she didn’t understand why damaging a rental car is still serious.

I like to see suggestions here for avoiding a situation or handling it appropriately but I wish I didn’t have to scroll past so many “OMG RACIST” type comments to get to them.

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Gracie C. October 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

That’s a fair point, Cupcake, though I do think many people are unaware of (unintentional?) implied bias when they speak. I think that’s what people are reacting to. It’s funny, because a lot of people won’t use race descriptions as a “clarifier” but think nothing of using it as a “qualifier.” For example, many people who think if there is a room full of white people and one black person and someone says, “Which one is Bill” and Bill is the black guy, they can’t say that “Bill’s the black man.” In the same way as if Bill was the only redhead in the room, or the one guy wearing a hot pink sports coat. It’s an obvious clarifier that immediately identifies Bill in a way that say, “He’s the one with the PhD” wouldn’t. But these same people will think nothing of telling a story saying, “These obnoxious spanish girls were on the train this morning.” Spanish is a qualifier (not a clarifier) in this case. I wasn’t there, so Spanish isn’t an identifying comment for me, but it implies bias on the part of the speaker, the implication being that they were obnoxious because they were Spanish. I know often times the descriptions just add to the story telling, but just as often, the description implies bias.

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delislice October 20, 2011 at 7:37 am

I will never forget a parking-space encounter I had some years ago. Dark. Pouring rain. I had circled the small lot seven or eight times, waiting for a space. Finally, someone got into a car to leave. I pulled up, put my turn signal on, and waited. A huge white SUV pulled up behind me, the driver assessed the situation, and the driver then backed up, went down the next lane and around, and pulled up facing me, ready to pounce.

He slung into the space and parked. As he and his family strode past, I rolled down my window and politely said, “Excuse me — you saw me waiting for that space. I’ve been waiting for a space for ten minutes.”

He sneered at me, said, “It’s just a parking space.” And stalked off. As I rolled up my window and resumed circling in my once-more-futile search for a space, I couldn’t help noticing his personalized license plate: “4HIM.” I’m sure that the driver wanted other people to believe that the “HIM” in question was God, but I think I know different.

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Confused October 21, 2011 at 11:57 am

I’m confused. I think some of the posters here are acting quite rude to the OP, and are acting like her taking a parking space first, said that the damaged cause to the rental car was bad, but not a big deal, and refering to a family as Cuban is the equivalent of murdering a child, despite the fact that the man in the SUV verbally and physically attacked them and their possessions. I think the OP mean that the rental car was upsetting, but not as upsetting as if it had been their own car. Also, the OP and her mother were pretty much attacked by this man, and in shock, and not thinking straight.

I was once rear-ended by a man (nothing serious), who was looking two cars ahead, rather than at me, the one in front of him. I didn’t call the police at the time because I was in shock, and it was so dark and early in the morning. It was also the first “car accident” I’ve had. The OP recognises the fact that she should have called the police, but when somone is in shock, they often don’t think rationally.

It was a misunderstanding, and not something that they should be banished to eHell for, because they broke ettiquette and took a parking space before someone else. Who’s to say the SUV was waiting there very long? Maybe he arrived the same time they did, or or or two seconds before. From the way the situation was described, it was easier for both vehicles to park where they did. I’m only making that assumption though, because if the SUV wanted the space the OP parked in, wouldn’t he have been blocking the car from the space he did end up parking in? It could be because textual communication is harder to decipher tone than verbal commication, but I’m getting the impression that a lot of posters feel that the OP deserved (albeit not the keying and deflated tire) to be yelled at, and it was her fault that this kind of thing happened to her. I’m a little disgusted by this, and find it a bit ironic that these arguments are occuring on an ettiquette site.

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Iloveasunflower October 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

That man was defenantly out of line. I’ve had my own share of parking lot woes, and can relate. I live in a small town majorly populated by retirees. (I’m still in my first year out of high school.) I recently went to the grocery store, and when i was pulling out, nearly go slammed into by a woman who didn’t feel like waiting till i had pulled out to get by. She pulled out well after i had started pulling out, so according to the driving manual i checked, I had the right of way. she was within inches of hitting me. I braked and let her go, and as i was pulling out of the lane, an old man in a large suv pulled in front blocking my way. he rolled down his window and yelled “HEY YOU $%*%()#$* KID. YOU ALMOST HIT THAT POOR OLD LADY”S CAR! DO YOU HAVE #$*% FOR BRAINS?” after shaking his fist at me some more and screaming a few more obscenities about “stupid, useless, kids” He backed out and moved so i could go. It really shook me up. I didn’t do anything wrong, and no damage was done to any cars, so i still don’t see why he felt the need to do that to me.

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TylerBelle April 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

A little behind here, but wished to say I’m sorry that happened. When it comes to driving and cars and all that’s related, some people’s sense of entitlement and arrogance knows no bounds. I’ve had a sort of similar experience but thankfully without the rage-filled encounter. Not too long ago, my mom and I were leaving a supermarket where, since it was fairly early in the morning, the lot was pretty empty. We’d parked in the second slot in the row, and when we had gotten back to the car after shopping, the row of spaces next to us were still vacant. As we loaded the car, we noticed a pickup sitting in the aisle a few yards away as if the driver were waiting to pull into a space. All through getting the groceries in, and taking the cart to the return corral, the truck sat still. I wondered if they were waiting for us to leave for our spot, but why would they? They could simply pull into the one right next to us, which remained empty right up until we put on seatbelts, then someone else pulled in. As we left, I was curious to see if she (I think the pickup driver was a woman) actually was waiting for our space. And yeppers, soon as we pulled out, she pulled in. Wow.

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Jay September 6, 2014 at 2:38 am

What really annoys me is the jerks with giant trucks who park in front of my apartment, and force me to park on the other side of the apartment complex. It’s gotten to the point where I am afraid to take my car anywhere out of fear some jerk will steal my parking space. That’s bad enough. When i’m able to find a space, it’s always next to some huge truck that’s double parked.

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