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
Steal My Parking Space And You Will Pay For It!
Previous post: Feel Good Friday – “Danny and Annie” True Love That Lasts
Next post: Reader Discretion Is Advised