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The World’s Strangest Parking Lot Attendant

, , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Internal_Use8954 | May 15, 2021

I’m a woman, and I was twenty-four when this happened about two years ago. I was working as a construction and design engineer for hospitals doing plumbing and air conditioning. I worked for a company that was hired by the hospital, not for the hospital itself.

My company had been hired to do an ER renovation on an old hospital, and the plans for the existing building were really old or damaged or just didn’t exist anymore. As low man on the totem pole, I got the fun job of going out to the hospital to document and investigate the existing building — lots of going up on ladders and looking above the ceiling to track down pipes and ducts and such. Because this was an ER and therefore working twenty-four hours a day, we had to time our investigation for non-busy times — namely three to seven am in the middle of the week. I was also working my normal office hours because I needed the overtime pay, so for all of these interactions, I was exhausted and just didn’t care anymore.

I had to park in the hospital parking garage, on the top floor, to be out of the way of patients and visitors. I had finished early because an emergency had come into the ER and I had to get out of the way. I had some extra time, so I decided to close my eyes for a bit before driving to the office.

I was woken up by a tapping on my window. A man was peering in the window. I waved at him, thinking he was just making sure I was all right; I was sleeping in a hospital parking lot, after all. The man gestured for me to roll down my window, so I cracked it to hear him better.

Man: *Gruffly* “Employees are to park in the back lot, or on the street if that’s full. Next time, I’ll have you towed.”

He then turned and marched back to his golf cart, which he had blocked me in with.

Me: “I don’t work here!”

He left. Then I left and went to work thinking it was a one-time deal. Little did I know…

Over the next few visits, I came back to my car to find increasingly angry “parking tickets” about parking in employee parking from now on! They were printed on standard printer paper and were very obviously homemade, with a blurry hospital logo and word art “Parking Enforcement” across the top. The notes threatened booting and towing and had demands for my supervisor’s name so I could be reported. My coworkers and I had quite a laugh over them. I even left a note on my dash saying I wasn’t an employee, and the next “ticket” had a rant about lying and a threat: “You will be written up for lying once I get your supervisor’s name!”

Then, one morning I came out to find the guy waiting for me. He had blocked my car with his golf cart and was grinning at me like a cat who got the cream.

Man: “Employees have to park in the back lot! You are in so much trouble. I demand to speak to your manager! Give me their name and number and the department you work for! I won’t let you leave until you give me your manager’s name!”

He did have my car blocked in. I tried to explain that I wasn’t an employee. I pointed out my outfit — work boots, jeans, safety glasses, and a toolbelt with flashlights, tape measures, lasers, and a clipboard with my drawn plans — and told him that this is where hospital admin had told us to park. But he insisted that my disguise wasn’t going to trick him and demanded to speak to my manager. I was so exhausted and wasn’t really up to arguing, so I just pulled out my business card and my boss’s card and handed them over. I had told my boss about this, and he just told me to ignore it, as he had confirmed with the hospital that that was where I was supposed to park.

This dude pulled out his phone and called my boss and reported me. My boss — an older gentleman, president of the company — told the guy that he had to let me leave or he was calling the police. When the dude hung up, he told me:

Man: “I’m letting you leave this time, but next time you park here, I’ll boot your car and find your real manager’s number and report you! Some trick with your friend won’t work!”

He got in his golf cart and zoomed away. Luckily, my boss found this whole thing hilarious.

It was about a week before I went back and I was almost done with my task. I had finished for the day once again and headed out to my car to find that the man had — sort of — done what he had threatened.

There was a thick chain looped through the handle of my driver’s side rear door and around a cinderblock, all tied together with a large padlock. I knew this guy was a bit nutty, but I also had figured out that he didn’t have any real authority, so to find this half-clever, half-poorly-thought-out ball and chain attached to my car was a bit of a surprise.

I got into engineering because I like solving problems and this wasn’t a particularly complex problem. I simply rolled my back window down, lifted the cinderblock and excess chain into my car, and then drove away. I passed the man on my way out. To say he was shocked was an understatement, and I gave him a jaunty wave as I drove by. It was a cold drive back to my office with the window open, but it was worth the look on his face.

When I got to the office, I had to go in and sign out the bolt cutters, and I was followed out by a parade of my coworkers to see it for themselves.

I had to go back one more time. I was eager to see what the man might do after his last plan failed. I came out to find that he had tried the chain and cinderblock bit again. This time, he had wrapped the chain around the bottom of the wheel a few times and had the cinderblock tied pretty close to the wheel and the chain through the handle again. It was definitely chained in a way that would take a lot more ingenuity to get out of… or a pair of bolt cutters that I hadn’t returned to the office — you know, just in case.

I cut through the chain, unchained the car, and then loaded the whole lot into my trunk. The man must have been harassing some other person, because he only pulled up as I was backing out of the spot. He blocked my car — again! — with his cart and jumped out. He came to my window and I did roll it down just to see what he had to say.

Man: “Hey, hey! Where are the chains?! How did you get loose?! This is stealing! I will have your job for this!”

I never did hear the rest of the rant, as I yelled during a pause for breath:

Me: “Magic, and I’m not an employee!”

And I drove around his cart and away. It was the most dramatic exit of my life and will probably never be topped.

It was my last day there for now, and I’ve since gotten a new car, so I’m not sure if I’ll run into that man again. I’d like to think he is still puzzled over how I managed to unchain my car. My boss did lodge a complaint, but I don’t think anything came of it.