It was a busy Sunday in the parking lot, but the fever pitch of the late morning was mellowing a bit in the early afternoon. My co-worker had gone for the day, and I was on my own.
I saw a giant motor home approach the parking lot. By giant, I mean as big as a bus. This RV was literally the size of a Greyhound and didn’t look shiny enough to be rented. While it looked neither old nor trashy, it had dings and scratches. The people in the front were relatively young, probably in their mid-30s. The man in the passenger seat was blond and wore glasses. The driver was a woman with long, dark hair.
The little voice in my head was a bit late in whispering this is a bad idea, and I didn’t sprint over to send them down to the long, narrow overflow parking lot. The giant RV made the turn into my parking lot, and I waved them in.
My co-worker maintains we can get a bus through the parking lot, so my faith wasn’t entirely misplaced. He’s seen buses as big as Greyhounds enter, park, and later exit, so I was confident it could be done if the driver had adequate skill.
I told the driver of the giant RV I wasn’t sure if she’d find a place to park the behemoth. I told her if she did, she could pay me the $5 parking fee on the way to the trail. Then I sent her on her way, hoping she could get the huge vehicle through the lot and out again.
Some time passed, but I don’t know if it was five or ten or fifteen minutes. A man in his thirties approached me. He had blond hair and glasses. He told me he was with the RV. He said the RV could not get through because of car(s) parked in designated no parking areas. I asked him what he meant by designated no parking areas. He said a car (or maybe multiple cars) were parked on the pavement in areas not marked with lines as parking spaces. (None of the spaces in our parking lot are marked by signs saying no parking.) He said there wasn’t enough space for the motor home to get through, and they couldn’t back it up around the loop’s curves.
I told him all they could do was wait until the driver(s) of the car(s) blocking them returned. The blond man with glasses looked sad and walked back to his ride.
I wasn’t too concerned with the giant RV being temporarily stuck. I knew the people in the blocking cars would eventually return, at which time, according to the blond man, the driver of the giant RV would be able to swing it through the loop and out. My immediate concern was for the people trying to leave who were stuck behind the giant RV. My next concern was for people who arrived and wanted to park while the giant RV was stuck.
Cars parked on the exit side of the traffic jam were able to leave. Some of the drivers of those cars gave me reports on the RV as they left.
One young woman told me the RV was stuck because some asshole(s) had parked where they shouldn’t have. I told her we’d just have to wait until the asshole(s) returned to those vehicles.
Slowly, cars began to exit from the wrong way of the one-way loop. I guess the drivers stuck behind the giant RV realized breaking the rules was the only way they were going to get out. One by one, they were figuring out how to turn around so they could leave.
Thankfully, we’d hit a slow time in the flow of the parking lot. Only seven cars arrived during the time of the RV blockage. I was able to get them parked at the front of the lot, in spaces I could see from where I stood.
At some point, I received word that the driver of the giant motor home was trying to back it out.
How’s that going to work? I wondered.
I never went to the back of the lot to look at the stuck motor home. There was nothing I could do to help. I couldn’t move the offending cars. I didn’t want to give the driver of the RV bad advice that would make the situation worse. Also, I felt I was needed to keep things flowing smoothly in the front of the parking lot and get new arrivals safely parked while not adding to the logjam behind the giant RV.
Several groups of people exited the trail, and vehicles began leaving the lot. Then I saw the giant motor home approaching the exit. Success!
The driver of the giant RV stopped next to me and opened her window. We saw a spot where we’ll fit, she said to me. We’re going to make the loop again.
This time, the little voice in my head shouted Are you kidding me? NO!!! This time, the rest of me listened.
I shook my head and told her they’d be much better off in the overflow lot down the road. I was awfully glad to see them go.