I recently had Fall Break...not only was it wonderful, it was relaxing! I checked out some books, watched some movies, took naps...it was great!
On Saturday, I went to Chicago with a friend. It started off with a stop at a VERY nice McDonald's near I-65. As I was going to the bathroom (sorry...), I heard a voice, "Mommy? Mommy's gone." I knew it was going to happen. I just waited for it. Sure enough, here comes a head popping under my stall door. All the time, I was saying, "Not your mom." This didn't stop the young boy. He came all the way into my stall! All the way. I, AGAIN, said, "Not your mommy." After he left the stall, I told him to wait and I'd help him find his mom. Turns out, mom was at the counter ordering food. I guess her little boy has walked off before by the look on her face as she dragged him over to the table with his siblings.
But this wasn't the end of the fun. As we parked the car, I noted we were on parking level 3. We realized that as we entered the stairwell that you cannot exit through another level. Only the bottom level. Duly noted for the future. After a great time shopping and spending time with my friend's friend, we made our way back to the parking garage. Thank goodness we had brought our ticket from the garage. We paid at the terminal and were short three dollars. As we called the intercom for help, the lady kept repeating the same question to us. Turns out we weren't waiting long enough for silence to respond back. We made our way into the elevator, I pressed the level three button and we walk out. Walking down the stretch to the opposite side where we parked, we noticed that the car wasn't there. We were on level 4. Knowing the stairwell locks you in, we walked around on the floor of the garage. We come to the next floor of small compact cars and now we are on level 2. Where's level 3? It was like Harry Potter and the invisible train station.
We had seen a man pop his head around the corner and as we made our way to where we thought the car was the man disappeared. I made sure my friend had her keys out (I know that I have watched way too many Law and Order shows.) and the guy popped around the corner again. Turns out he worked there (thank goodness) and he asked us if we were missing our car. The thought did cross my mind that the car had been stolen. He had us go in the stairwell (he had keys) and took us to level 3 (which I still don't know how we missed it) and to our car.
Does the adventure end there? No...
We pulled up to the cashier to get our extra three dollars. The lady wasn't there. We pressed the help button again. She came out and after filling out some paperwork, we finally got the three dollars. We pull up to the mechanical arm and NOTHING. After backing up and pulling forward, it still wasn't working. We put in the ticket showing that we've paid and since we have now gone over the 15 minute grade period, we owe another 6 dollars...thankfully, we didn't have to pay that. The lady tried again to raise the mechanical arm and still NOTHING. By this time, another car has pulled up behind us. She had to back up. Our car moved over another aisle to see if that arm worked and of course it didn't. Another lady pulled up and said to the lady, "I didn't get all of my change back from the machine." Ha ha...welcome to our world! At this time, five other cars are now there and to inform them, I decide to get out of the car to let them know what's going on. Chicago people are not nice. I thought they would have been thankful to know why we had been sitting there and not moving...but not many people smiled and no one said thank you.
Twenty-three minutes later, the parking garage attendant had to use her keys to manually raise the arms...why did this not happen 15 minutes ago? The five cars that had pulled up were now going to be able to leave. Our parking garage moment was finally over. I guess I could go on about how we then got lost in downtown Chicago trying to find our way back home (we didn't have the directions in reverse to get back), but that wasn't as funny as the other events. I mean, how many people get stuck in a parking garage for 23 minutes???
My friend and I had a good laugh and promised to write the story...we both teach and know that this small moment will be great to share with our classes.