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Holiday Parking Rage

Well, I know that the silly season is here.

I went to do some Christmas shopping at a large shopping center and, as expected, the car park was very busy. After driving around the parking areas for a half hour I saw someone loading their car and pulled to the side and indicated that I was waiting for that space. Up ahead there was another car being loaded and a car sitting in the lane with no indicators on. After a few minutes the car I was waiting for left and I pulled safely into the space. That is when the trouble began.

The car that had not been indicating reversed toward me and stopped, blocking me in (the space was against a wall and the only pedestrian exit was toward the road). A man in his early 20’s got out and began yelling at me. He started screaming in my face how it was “His!” space and I stole it, how dare I take the spot when “Everyone could see” it was his. I tried to keep calm and apologized for misunderstanding and offered to give him the space. The man then lifted his fist and threatened to hit me and my children aged 11 and 7 (I was standing between him and my kids). He would not listen to anything that I said and I was fortunate that a person notified the security people about the problem and they were hurrying towards us. The man then threw a punch (that I dodged) that broke a window on my car. Security jumped on the man and took him away before any more damage could be done.

A security person stayed with my car while they dealt with the issue. The man was given the option of paying for an emergency on-site repair to the window or being arrested. He grudgingly parted with the $450 for repairs and was banned from the center indefinitely. My children and I were shaken over how someone’s behavior could change our day so badly.

{ 91 comments… add one }
  • clairedelune December 13, 2012, 12:04 pm

    Wait, why was he “given an option”? I’m glad that the security people were there to help you, but it sounds like they were also there to protect their mall’s reputation by minimizing the incident–I don’t see how they have standing to determine how his criminal acts are dealt with.

  • Ashley December 13, 2012, 12:10 pm

    It’s sad how common incidents like the one OP described are.

    I once watched two women get in a fist fight over a spot that NEITHER of them were entitled to park in. The nearest mall has restaurants attached to it that have parking spots for people getting food to go, and they were fighting over one of those spots. Turned out they weren’t there for food from the restaurant, they were just too lazy to try and find other parking.

    Then another time at the same mall I watched a lady SLAM on the gas to get into a spot before the other waiting car could. What she didn’t seem to realize was that the front corner of the space was completely covered in hard packed snow from a recent snowfall and subsequent plowing of the lot. Her car wound up on its side because she hit the pile with so much force it made the car tilt. Had she gone into it normally, she would have been just fine, as she had a small car that would have fit into the space even with the snow. Instead she raced into the spot and wound up with a car that needed to be flipped back onto it’s tires and then repaired.

    I’ve stopped going to that mall during the holidays.

  • MichelleP December 13, 2012, 12:12 pm

    @DowagerDuchess, the OP states clearly that she indicated she was waiting and the other car did not. Even if he had, there is no justification in the world for his actions. I can’t believe anyone would even think of criticizing the OP in this case.

  • just4kicks December 13, 2012, 12:32 pm

    I am glad you are all ok! While this has nothing to do with parking, I work retail and earlier this week a woman rammed her cart into me on purpose because I would not stop helping the customer I was already helping to help her find something. I went to my doctor today and the diagnosis is a bruised kidney. Happy Holidays indeed.

  • Cat Whisperer December 13, 2012, 12:44 pm

    I agree with the people who say that this particular story goes far, far beyond anything that etiquette can deal with, and is a safety/security issue.

    In terms of the etiquette issues arising from people’s holiday tantrums and rages caused by the frustrations of the season, about all you can do is remember that you are responsible for your manners and behavior, but you are not responsible for others. Bearing in mind that this is a time of year particularly frought with problems that can try the patience of a saint and frazzle the poise of even the most poised and composed people, you can take steps to try to ensure you don’t lose your cool, even when everyone else around you is erupting like a volcano.

    First, remember that the deadlines imposed by December 25th are artificial. If you can’t get things done by Christmas, the world doesn’t stop turning. I’ve found that at least in dealing with adults, Christmas presents given on December 26th, or 27th, or even New Year’s Eve are just as well received as presents given on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. The adults in my life who are on my gift list have all let me know that they would rather get presents from me a week late (or later) than have me get my shopping done on time and have my temper, my nerves and my health suffer. I feel the same way about them.

    Second, remember that other people are frazzled and frayed and frustrated. Be patient, be kind, be forgiving. Every single one of us can be a world-class jerk or worse. All it takes is the wrong set of circumstances, and there we are, making someone else’s day miserable. Extend to other people the kind of forbearance that you would want from them. Nobody ever got written up on eHell for taking the high road and being the better person.

    Third, be “defensively aware” of ruckuses that are brewing. While “ca-ca” happens, it rarely happens without some sign, some warning that it’s headed your way. When you see trouble getting ready to happen, disengage! In the scenario presented today, know what I’d have done? As soon as it became apparent that the mall parking lot was full to the boiling point of cranky people, I’d have initiated “plan B” and left the parking lot. I’d have driven a block or two away to see if I could find a place to park. I’d have decided to put off my shopping until first thing next morning, and gotten to the mall an hour before things opened, parked peacefully, and sat in my car reading a book until the stores opened. I’d have called a friend and worked out a pact where she dropped me off and waited for my call to pick me up when I was finished, and then I’d do the same thing for her. Just don’t be so wedded to one way of doing things that you forge on ahead into disaster. When your senses tell you that things aren’t working out, disengage!

    Fourth, things do go wrong. We don’t always get to choose what disasters hit us. But when things do go wrong, we almost always have a choice about how we feel about them. If your car does get dinged in the parking lot, if some lunatic jerk does punch your window out, if you get cursed out by someone who believes that you “stole their parking spot,” it’s unpleasant, no denying. But cars can be fixed, security can restrain lunatic jerks, and curses and swear words can be reduced to insignificant random sounds. Deal with the situation with as much grace and class as you can muster, do what you have to do, and then let it go. It doesn’t have to be The Thing That Ruined My Christmas unless you choose to let it.

    (Just as perspective, I was watching a “true crime” show where they interviewed a woman who was assaulted, raped and horribly beaten by an attacker. She said that when she was in the hospital being treated after the attack, she decided that her attacker had gotten one day of her life, and he wasn’t getting one minute more: she was going to move on and have the wonderful life she’d always planned. And she did exactly that: she got what counseling was necessary to move forward, she refused to allow herself to become a hostage to fear or anger or pity, she refused to grant her attacker the power to ruin her life. He ruined one day, and that was all he was getting. Pretty powerful thinking!)

    Finally, and it’s true, the holiday season is exactly what you decide to make of it. If you find yourself doing something like circling in the parking lot of the mall for half an hour trying to find a parking place while all around you, people are doing insane things, maybe you should ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. A lot of the stuff we think we “have” to do isn’t really necessary at all.

  • Kirst December 13, 2012, 1:16 pm

    I really don’t like it when people say someone behaving aggressively or violently must be crazy or insane. Those are terms relating to mental illness, and people with mental illnesses are far more likely to be the victims of aggression and violence than the perpetrators.

  • Brenda December 13, 2012, 1:32 pm

    I had something very similar happen to me at a museum, and not at the holidays. What the guy didn’t expect was that my husband was walking back to the car (he’d gotten out to look in another section of the lot for an empty space) and saw the whole thing. I had pulled my cell and was going to call 911 (a large city with police very available), and I had the advantage of still being in my car. When my husband came up, the guy suddenly decided he didn’t want the space that badly and left.

    There’s definitely a sexist angle to this behavior. A man would be much less likely to threaten a man; it’s much easier to intimidate a woman, especially a woman with children.

  • Brenda December 13, 2012, 1:33 pm

    Oh, I want to add that while it was good that the guy forked over the money to repair the window, in the long run it might have been better to have had him arrested and charged with a felony.

    Personally, I might have agreed to have the guy hand over the money, then called the police on my own.

  • Library Diva December 13, 2012, 2:09 pm

    These stories are horrible! I don’t know why parking and the holidays turn people into maniacs like this! A few years ago, I decided to go out early, before Thanksgiving, on the grounds that I’d be less likely to get in an accident. Well, guess what happened: only the third one I’ve ever been involved in my whole life. I got rear-ended at a low speed by a terrified teenage girl who’d probably only had her license for a couple of years.

    I could see the thoughts going in her head: my parents are going to kill me, I can’t afford to pay for this, this lady’s going to be so angry, etc. I asked if she was OK, told her to calm down and not worry since everything looked OK, and suggested we trade phone numbers just in case there was some kind of non-obvious damage. I called her a few days later to tell her that my car appeared to be fine, not to worry and to have happy holidays. No screaming, no yelling, no acting like a dangerous psycho. I’m glad OP and her kids weren’t hurt. I agree with those who say that this guy should have gone to jail for his actions. Next time, he may not stop at punching a window.

  • Angel December 13, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Wow. That’s hardcore. He punched hard enough to BREAK A WINDOW. Clearly he intended bodily harm. Security really dropped the ball on that one.

  • Drawberry December 13, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Some years ago when my mother and I lived in Dallas we took a drive to a large store situated in a parking lot strip-center sort of area that had various clothing shops and trendy cafes around it. The store was a large business that sold costume jewelry and bags and wigs, a security guard sits up in a ‘tower’ by the front door to watch people coming and going. I forget the name of it at this point, sorry!

    The day we’d gone was during a busy weekend where the parking lot was packed. After my mother noticed a car getting ready to pull out she proceeded with all the various common signals of her waiting for the parking spot. As far as either of us saw it was just out car in that entire isle. No one else was driving around us. My mother pulls in and we get out then start walking to the store when a man parks his truck around our car and approaches mother. He accused her of taking ‘his’ spot and argued that he was waiting for it…….down at the opposite end of the isle. This man was large, much larger then my mother or I, and seemed very gruff about the whole thing. My mother calmly but firmly told him that she hadn’t seen him and she was sorry, pulling me along inside the store.

    She stood by the guard tower for a few minutes watching this man circle around our car as if he was going to try and damage it! He ended up walking away, possibly due to the heavy amount of people coming and going from the store and possibly realizing we could see him from inside the building.

    To my mothers credit; she does not get intimated by others easily and handles the ‘big tough guys’ very well. Most men seem to think they can bully her around because she’s now in her 60’s and awful small but they have no idea who they’re dealing with! She can send you crying with your tail between your legs without saying a word or lifting a finger.Maybe raising 3 kids, and later on a 4th step child, had her put in more then one scenario where she was dealing with someone pushing her boundaries…

  • June First December 13, 2012, 2:31 pm

    I’ll join the chorus: He should have paid AND been arrested. I’m glad you and your kids were unharmed. What a great teachable moment for the kids, though. “Don’t be That Guy.”

  • Jen December 13, 2012, 2:32 pm

    I think he should have been arrested. What kind of creep threatens to punch little kids and throws a punch at ANYONE so hard that it breaks a window? If LW hadn’t ducked that could have been a serious, serious injury. Part of me suspects that the reason this guy coughed up the money is that he was probably on probation for another violent act and knew this would violate it.

  • Cat Whisperer December 13, 2012, 2:33 pm

    I gotta add: for the people who say the guy should have been arrested and charged with assault, you have to remember that arrests, prosecutions, trials and convictions take time, effort, and money, and can cause more stress than you can believe possible.

    Suppose that the OP had decided she wanted to have the guy charged. First of all, it isn’t her call to make. The police get to decide who is arrested, and the DA’s office gets to decide what charges are filed. So if mall security had called the police, what do you think would have happened?

    First, OP and everyone else would have had to wait for the police to get there. In a situation where the perpetrator is already caught and restrained and no one is in any immediate danger, during what for police is the busiest time of the year, do you think that the police are going to get there immediately? Most likely it’s going to take at least an hour for an officer to get there. It may take longer, if this occurs during a shift change or if there are other accidents, crimes, problems that are more critical being investigated.

    So then the police get there. By this time the perpetrator has probably cooled off. The offer to pay the OP on the spot for her broken window is made. Unless the perpetrator has outstanding warrants against him or calling in his name and running a check reveals that he has a prior record of some kind, chances are that the police are going to urge the OP to take the offer and will decline to arrest the guy. Why? Because if they arrest him, they have to transport him to the police station. They have to book him. They have to fill out paperwork. It all takes time away from what police are most urgently needed for at that time of year: patrolling to prevent crimes, and dealing with serious situations involving injuries. If the police can get the situation resolved without an arrest, they will. They may issue a citation of some sort to the guy, but that’s about it.

    But lets say they do arrest him. OP will be asked to come to the station to file a statement. Other people at the mall who either witnessed what happened or who were in some way involved will have to give statements. If they haven’t left already, that is; and if they are able and willing to go to the police station and give statements. If witnesses aren’t willing to give statements, indicate they aren’t interested in going through with the process up to and including possibly testifying in court, then the case might fall apart right there. The guy might be released from custody without being charged, for lack of evidence.

    But let’s say that all the people who saw what happened are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to go make statements and indicate they will appear in court if necessary. Now the DA’s office has to decide what charges to file. The DA’s office isn’t necessarily interested in throwing the book at the guy. They may look at the case and decide that it isn’t worth the time and effort to file the maximum charges against the guy. In 99% of all cases, they will decide to offer a plea deal. If the guy who’s charged has no prior convictions and is otherwise an upstanding citizen (has a job, stable history, police haven’t been called to his house on domestic disturbances, nothing pending with CPS or any other agency), then most likely they’re going to offer him “diversion”: he doesn’t go to court, he goes to something like anger management class. If he completes that successfully, charges are dropped. At best, he might get charged with a misdemeanor of some sort and get probation.

    But let’s say that the thing does go to court. OP and all the witnesses will probably have to make trips to the court building several times, because cases have preliminary hearings and sometimes things are set to go and they get postponed at the last minute, or there are delays and things are continued for another appearance, or there are court adminstrative glitches and when you think things are set to go, there’s a delay and another continuance. Husband and I have experienced this, we went through it when our house was burglarized, and you never get to go to court just once and that’s it. The system just doesn’t work like that.

    And if any of the witnesses bags out, charges can be dismissed. Or the guy could work out a plea deal at the last minute, and you don’t get any say in that. Or the judge could find, for any of a thousand million legal reasons you aren’t privy to and don’t understand, that the case can’t go forward and it all ends. After endless aggravation and no resolution at all.

    Yes, it’s good to be good citizens and yes, it would be nice everyone who did something bad got punished. But that isn’t the way the system works. Whether that’s right or wrong isn’t the question. It is what is. And the point is, it just isn’t as easy, or as certain, to have someone punished for a crime as people seem to think it is.

  • Miss Raven December 13, 2012, 2:42 pm

    I think we’ve all dealt with holiday parking wars at one point or another, but OP’s story takes the cake. Threatening to strike young children. Really. I agree that the lunatic should have been arrested AND made to pay for the damages.

    One year my mother and I went to the mall a few days before Christmas, and the parking lot was so packed that you had to find a family leaving and follow them to their car. After so many turns round the lot we almost actually went home, we found a family loading up their car and no one waiting. We sat with our signal on.

    As they were about to pull out, another car turned the corner into our aisle, facing us. We were not in any way shielded from their view, and were sitting right next to the spot with the blinker on. There was absolutely nothing whatsoever ambiguous about the situation. We knew, and they knew, that they were flat-out about to try to steal the spot.

    Sure enough, as the car pulled out of the spot, they tried to pull in AS we tried to pull in, with both cars facing each other in a “V” shape but neither in the space. My mother rolled down the window to give this guy a piece of her mind. He rolled his down as well and he knew he was in the wrong, but refused to budge. He tried to PAY HER to back out and give them the spot, and when that didn’t work, he pleaded, “Come on… it’s CHRISTMAS!” To which we, baffled, responded, “Yes… it’s CHRISTMAS.”

    Eventually he left. Seriously. The holidays make people nutty. What made this guy think his last-minute panic shopping was more important than our last-minute panic shopping?

  • Shalamar December 13, 2012, 4:09 pm

    Psyche, you mentioning people staking claims on chairs reminded me of an incident that happened at a dance a few years ago. My husband and I sat down at an empty table with some friends. A very drunk guy came along, stood in front of me, and said “You stole my chair.” I started to smile, because I didn’t think he was serious. The chair I’d “stolen” looked exactly like the dozens of empty available chairs all around us, and there had been nothing about it to indicate that it “belonged” to someone – no coat or anything.

    Smiling was a mistake. He went from belligerent to FURIOUS and started screaming at me. My husband and a couple of male friends had to stand up and politely but firmly tell him to get lost before he gave up.

  • Allison December 13, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Sitting here LOL’ing at those who arent quite sure what a “car park” is or what ‘indicating” means. A car park is where cars park there cars, a parking lot or whatever Americans call it, paid or unpaid, its a car park, found at “the shops” (malls) or other places, like hospitals or basically anywhere that requires space for cars to park there for use of their establishment. And yes, indicating does mean “turn signals’, the lights that flash on cars when you want to turn are known as “indicators” in this area of the world.

    I have always found it very amusing that we all speak the same language, yet we have completely different ways of saying things and describing things. Its one of the many intricacies of the human race that I love.

    Also, car park guy was an absolute crazy man. Definitely bad etiquette, but pure violence and uncontrolled rage. I cannot believe that he actually intended to punch you! He must have been out of his mind if he was going so far as to assault a mother with her children in her car. So glad OP was able to escape the situation without being too (physically) damaged.

    I agree with most other posters, this is the reason I dont even bother with trying to find parking spaces close to the shops, I just find one far away and park there. Even almost 8 months pregnant, I prefer the walk then the hassle of driving round and round and round and then stalking people to their cars waiting for their spot to clear. It drives me nuts. I am heading to the shops today for some Xmas shopping at around lunch time, and i am dreading the chaos already. but it has to be done.

  • Ellen December 13, 2012, 7:49 pm

    I would assume, if he hit her window hard enough to break it, he likely injured his hand – possibly even breaking bones.
    I would not wish pain and suffering on anyone, but sometimes actions do have appropriate consequences.

  • Marozia December 13, 2012, 8:47 pm

    WOW!! The exact same thing happened to my sister a few days ago!! She parked in the last shady parking spot (we have very hot & humid Xmas weather in Perth). The rest of the carpark had plenty of available spaces), and a ‘gentleman’ abused her as he wanted the space in the shade. Abuse, wasn’t the word, more likely sewer mouth instead. She glared at him and he walked off mumbling to himself. What a knucklehead!!

  • NostalgicGal December 14, 2012, 2:44 am

    @Elf, yes. In certain cases that city used to send one out IF the officer was not already working a case AND things warranted it.

    In the first case the previous summer, the woman and I had touched in cone zone nearly stopped traffic, I am saying literally just touched. She wanted my insurance info but REFUSED TO GIVE ME HERS, and kept repeating that if I just gave her my insurance she wouldn’t say anything about whiplash! And that I had caused ALL the visible damage to her back end. So I walked to the nearest business and called and explained why I needed an officer response, repeating what the lady was telling me, and they sent out the A.R. Further, her car looked like someone had taken a car iron and bike chain and whopped every inch of it; and, we were sitting on fresh laid mat. My car did not match any of her rear damage and I had NO lens covers damaged. She had two vertical bumper pieces covered with hard black rubber and the one that I probably touched by the height match to my bumper had three dents in it. I did NOT do all the damage visible to the back end of her car. My car midline couldn’t reach over her bumper IF I had crammed on the brakes from high speed and caused the front end to ‘hop’ up and down. I can also read lips (tinntinitus that can flare, so I learned) and he put her in his car first and asked her FOUR times and she repeated to him all niceynice about I refused to give her my insurance and if I had there wouldn’t be a problem. Fourth time he offered to write her up and arrest HER so she produced the info and gave it to him. And he told her he was going to ticket me. She gets out and leaves. He fills out a HUGE page detailed report and says ‘this is what happened’ and I told him I read their lips. Oh so I know what happened in the car? yes. I also repeated her words to me about if I would just give her MY info so SHE could be on her way, she wouldn’t say anything about whiplash. His words? The only way she could have whiplash was IF she had had her neck between the bumpers at the time we touched. As for that form, he said take this and HANG ONTO IT. Don’t say a WORD to your insurance. IF they call you, take this in. A month later she did, showing up with a neck brace collar. My insurance screamed bloody murder and I took them that form, they called the police about it, and they said aha, Got Her. She was making several hundred a month in stuff like that, doing the get the one side’s insurance, and probably beating up her car to file, and. They got her.

    On the parking lot call, I knew his name and badge number, and explained to the desk why I was requesting he be sent out (the situation in the lot). He was not on a call but on duty and they sent him.
    The woman freely admitted after he pointed out the rust in her dents and scrapes, that she’d done it some months ago and was trying to cover it before her hubby came back.

    It depends on the police department, the load, and the kindness of the front desk. ALWAYS be polite with the members of law enforcement. It goes a long ways.

  • Enna December 14, 2012, 6:57 am

    The main thing is no one was hurt and the damage was paid for on the spot and the idiot has been banned from the shopping centre. However I do think at the very least the police should be notified so they are at the very least aware that there is a dangerous man around. Personally I think he should be arrested – even if he was interveiwed under caution if he did anything stupid like this again it will flag up.

    The sercurity guards may have wanted to keep the centre’s imaigne good by “hushing it up” but they may very well want to resolve it for the victim’s sake: sometimes people don’t want to go though the police process they just want to get on with their lives and not have to relive it. By saying “pay for window or we call the police” I’m sure they would have called the police if the man had refused to pay – to me maybe the man relised that he had been stupid and if he didn’t pay up he would have more trouble. If he was a very unstable or violent man I don’t think he would have paid up. But then I still think the police should be involved.

    @ Cat Whisperer: justice can be a lengethly process, in the UK we don’t have plea bargining. I would say it is up to the victim if he/she wants to press charges or not. If no one reported crime because of the reasons you said then what kind of world would we be living in? One where crime would be more rife because no one would report it. Any police officer who tells a victim of criminal damage and attempted assulat they shouldn’t go through with pressing charges would be unprofessional considering the evidence there.

    Even if it was a first offence and the man was interviewd under caution and it went no furthur there would at the very least be a record of an arrest and an inncident. It might stop the man from doing it again or if it didn’t it would be far easier to press charges if he did it again or did something more serious. If he was wanted on other charges, or if he was on bail or on probation/licence for something else it could put him aback in prision.

  • SJ December 14, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Obviously, he just wanted to be angry. Even after you offered to let him have the space, he went berserk!
    Etiquette-wise, you were under no obligation to offer the space, but safety trumps etiquette, and that guy was dangerous!

  • Brenda December 14, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Cat Whisperer, you have some valid points, but there are a few that go overboard on assumptions.

    1. The perpetrator didn’t have to be in custody, and the victim did not have to wait there for the police. She had the license plate and knew what he looked like. That, coupled with the damaged hand and the property damage, would have pretty much guaranteed an arrest.

    2. The DA does decide the charges. The damage to the car, the assault charges, the attempted battery, and the circumstances would add up to a felony. The perpetrator probably would have been allowed to plead, but it would depend on any record he may have had. His behavior was such that it is very possible that he had previous arrests, which would have made it easier for the DA to force a felony plea, but we’ll never know. If he didn’t, even a misdemeanor plea bargain for assault can result in a criminal protective order, and the perpetrator being entered into the state’s computers as dangerous. This is what you hope for. After that, any crime he commits, even a moving violation, can mean he is hauled back into court.

    3. In a criminal matter, witnesses can be easily subpoenaed to testify by the DA. If they don’t show up, bench warrants can be issued.

    You seem to be playing devil’s advocate, which I appreciate, but you’re going too far to the wrong side.

  • E December 14, 2012, 3:27 pm

    @just4kicks – what happened to you was assault. If your place of employment has video cameras and the person bought something with a camera, it’s very possible you could find out who it was and actually file charges. I would think seriously about it.

  • Moose December 14, 2012, 8:12 pm

    This isn’t just holiday stupidity.

    Long ago, in the mid ’80’s, in the middle of an otherwise beautiful summer’s day, I was waiting patiently for a parking space in a lot. I’d seen the driver get behind the wheel so I got near and put on a signal.

    As the car pulled out and I started to pull in, a man in a small sports car with its top down RACED over from the other side of the lot and tried to steal it from me. He tried to block me from pulling in, and started screaming at me that I was “stealing” *his* space. When I refused to budge, he started cursing me out and calling me a “stupid woman” who should know that a man is always right, and I should give him the space just because he is the man! I had 3 friends in the car who basically shouted at him until he went away.

    The best part of this tale is that I recently told it elsewhere on a social media site. A large number of men felt free to comment that I was either lying or exaggerating, because no man would ever really say such things.

  • The Cheese December 14, 2012, 8:23 pm

    I hate to say it, but I would check out Snopes or get a copy of the police report before posting this one. It is incredibly hard to bust a window with your fist. Add to that the fact that there aren’t that many people who carry around $450 in cash, nor guys who carry around checks. This is just waaaay too fishy. It would also be the first road rage incident where someone was worried about the etiquette of the issue rather than the criminal nature of the incident.

  • Mabel December 15, 2012, 12:08 am

    Cat Whisperer Post 55: Very well put!

    OP: I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope your kids weren’t too frightened.

  • Silly Cat December 15, 2012, 1:06 am

    I agree with Cheese. IF, by some muracke, the guy managed to punch through and break a car window (which is very hard to do) he would have broke every none in his hand. There would be no discussion of arrest. He would be taken away in an ambulance.

  • KissofLye December 15, 2012, 3:37 am

    @The Cheese

    I have to say, I’m a little hesitant to believe this as well and most of my skepticism is coming from the fact that car windows are so hard to break, it’s recommended you carry a special little hammer in your car in case you need to escape your car. Isn’t it tempered glass or something?

    However, perhaps the guy had a particularly strong ring on his hand and that helped to shatter the glass.

  • SCUlawstudent December 15, 2012, 5:16 am

    @ Dowager duchess. I think the OP might be in Australia where we say car park instead of parking lot and indicator instead of ‘turn signal’ so I think she was literally indicating she was waiting for the spot.

  • NostalgicGal December 15, 2012, 10:16 am

    It may have been some fluke but glass will break upon impact. The odds are pretty low that if someone whaps a car window with their fist it will break but if everything’s just right it could (less than a fresh new window, stress built up in the glass, surface damage to the window (scratches and previous impacts that have stressed it) and as someone said a ring to add a concentrated point of stress when he whacked it) and the fellow may very well have managed NOT to have put the hand through the pane so as to not have done more than a few tiny knicks at most to his own hand. Yeah it would’ve been sore, but. We are not the National Equirer here, or Snopes. Snopes by the way is run by a couple, and they have gotten stuff wrong too!

    Yes they do sell ‘escapahammers’ meant in case you go in the drink or get trapped in a wreck to be able to trash the window and get out. The idea behind the hammer is it delivers a very concentrated stress to the window, aka shattering it. I do believe though that in this case, the fellow didn’t put the hand all the way through, but delivered just the right stress in the right way and the glass went crunch.

    Yes someone in this day and age can have a chunk of cash on them; at times I carry that much or more, or the fellow produced a credit card that could be dinged. I am assuming that a place was called that sent out a van with a new glass and it was a repair on spot, and the fellow paid the bill whether it be cash, check, or card.

    Anyways… enough overanalyzing everybody. It could happen, it apparently did happen, and being a part of this would’ve been more than majorly scary.

  • Sarah December 15, 2012, 11:52 am

    It depends on the model of the window. Some are made of two sheets of glass with flexible clear plastic sandwiched between them, so they spiderweb when struck instead of shattering into pieces. Almost all windshields are made like that. Other car windows are made of tempered, laminated glass which breaks into blunt chunks instead of splintering dangerously. Both are pretty tough, but it is possible to do enough damage with a fist that the window would be damaged enough to need replacing, especially if he was wearing gloves. It is wintertime after all. And typically, the older the car, the more fragile the window glass is.

    I honestly don’t know why people fight so hard over something that’s so completely worthless. This is why I park in the back of the lot. Good exercise! And if the lot is completely full, that store is a place I don’t want to be.

  • KissofLye December 15, 2012, 3:23 pm


    I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with analyzing anything, especially in this story. There’s a few question some people have and that’s fine and dandy.

    This is a pretty straight-forward story. There was clearly someone in the wrong (majorly in the wrong) and the other person did not do anything at all that would be considered rude. So it stands to reason there would be some discussion about things pertaining to the story.

    I find it a little rude of you to try and tell the rest of us how to post honestly.

  • Rigs32 December 15, 2012, 4:19 pm

    In NY, the described actions would NOT be a felony. It would be a Criminal mischief (an A misdemeanor) and either an Attempted Assault (a B Misdemeanor) or Harassment (a violation).

    While the DA’s office *can* get warrants for non-cooperating witnesses, that doesn’t happen on misdemeanor cases and not on all felonies, either.

  • The Elf December 15, 2012, 6:32 pm

    NostalgicGal: Yeah, I wasn’t questioning the need to call the police, nor why police responded. To be honest, for any collision other than a fender bender (and even then if the other driver wasn’t being cooperative or was threatening me), I’d call the police to handle the accident. I was just questioning calling the accident reconstruction unit of the police. Reconstructions, according to a friend of mine who did this for a living for a time, were time-consuming and expensive processes that would shut down whole roads. That’s why ours only comes out for fatal collisions. So to do that for a personal property collision seems odd.

  • NostalgicGal December 16, 2012, 1:12 am

    Kiss of Lye, I didn’t think I was doing that, telling others how to post. That is up to the Admin.
    comments are comments and what I have posted is intended in that light. Comments.

    It still comes down to… it was a parking lot spot. All of that for a place to park. And a lot of others posting to here have not dissimilar, the stories of what goes on in a parking lot.

    Still I hope the OP and her kids have gotten over it and moved on with her life.

  • James December 16, 2012, 3:55 am

    Terrible experience for the OP and their children, but sadly a completely believable story. So many people get “stressed” at this time of year and behave apallingly. Holiday season “stress” really is no excuse however. It’s only Christmas and it happens every year. My grandparents generation lived through bombs dropping on their homes without needing to behave half as bad.

    A couple weeks ago I was in a very busy mall and bumped shoulders with someone walking the other way. I apologised and continued on my way. The other guy however starts throwing things at me (!!!) and yelling that i need to be more careful and should know not to bump into someone as important as him! Complete overreaction.

  • Kris December 19, 2012, 1:42 am

    And its things like this incident that make me glad I don’t drive. Sure it means 18$ to the cabbie or packing in on the bus, but its tolerable. Generally I try to avoid the holiday madness at least until my birthday (dec. 27th). At that point its all the discount crazies, but they at least behave when it comes to parking.

  • NostalgicGal December 19, 2012, 12:26 pm

    @ the Elf, I know… it seemed strange to me too when they sent the fellow out for the original accident with the lady that wouldn’t hand over the insurance; but they did indeed. That time I just called in and explained what was going on, why I was calling, and the police department dispatched that officer. His expertise, he sorted the entire thing in about 5 minutes… then when he gave me that super detailed carboned form he filled out, I’d never seen anything like that either. It MIGHT have been because they had had issues with this lady before (and by the afters, they got her for insurance frauding) and someone recognized the MO. The second time, I think it was their kindness, my specific polite request with the particulars, and the fact he wasn’t on another case or call.

  • Shnon December 23, 2012, 6:25 am

    Why would he get a choice about jail-time…?

  • Grey January 11, 2013, 6:39 pm

    This is one of those stories where it would be helpful to know if the author is male or female. It’s not right to assume, as many commenters are, that it’s a female.

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