Two men rushed past me, their words gushing out in torrents. Their conversation was entirely about something that was going on outside the store. My curiosity piqued, I watched as they hurried through the grocery store’s front doors and joined others who seemed to be staring into the sky. What was so interesting? Was a plane in trouble? Did they see a UFO? Was a major storm heading our way?
“I’ll be right back,” I said to my lady friend. “I’ve got to see what the excitement is all about.” I scampered outside, leaving her and two kids.
Stacey, her three kids, and I had traveled to the mountains for a picnic. It was a beautiful hot day and we mostly stayed in the shade. Her oldest son, Fabian, was hyperactive and constantly on the move. He just couldn’t sit still during our picnic.
Fabian was too distracted by the world around him. He wandered off several times and we had to search for him each time. Out of frustration Stacey told him he was grounded and would have to stay next to her. After an angry exchange of words between Stacey and Fabian, we decided to leave. There was no point in staying with relations already strained between them and still going downhill.
On the way down the mountain Stacey decided to reward her other two children for being good. She spotted a mini mall with a small store and asked me to stop. I pulled in. I noted that the space was on an incline so I set the parking brake.
“Let’s go inside and get out of the heat,” I said.
“Fabian has to stay in the car. He’s grounded,” Stacey replied.
“I don’t want to leave him in the car. I don’t want anything to happen to him.”
“He’ll be fine. I don’t want to reward him for bad behavior.”
Reluctantly I went inside. I picked up some potato chips, various kinds of candy, fruit drinks, and some ice cream. I didn’t tell Stacey but I intended to give some to Fabian later after he showed good behavior. However, that was before I saw the men rushing out the door.
Once I was outside a strange sight greeted me. A white Toyota Corolla, looking a lot like mine, was across the street, high in the air, surrounded by a gathering crowd. I stared in amazement. “It looks like my car but it can’t be.” I turned and looked for my parking space. It was empty.
The Toyota looked kind of odd resting in a tree. Yes, it was my car, and no, it didn’t have magical powers. How did it get there?
Stacey had rejoined me by then, two kids at her side. She clutched my arm tightly. “Where’s Fabian?” she asked hysterically.
At that moment Fabian’s head popped up at the driver’s side window. His face was pale and he looked terrified. I couldn’t understand his words or his gestures. “Don’t move!” I shouted.
Traffic was blocked at the main entrance as emergency vehicles arrived. Fabian was rescued first. With no one else in danger everything went faster. A helicopter lifted my car and then lowered it to the ground.
I was worried that this would be terribly expensive. Then two representatives of the mall management team thrust a paper in front of me. They were concerned the mall would be sued because a child had been in danger. They were happy that I didn’t want to sue anyone. Fabian was safe and that was all that really mattered.
I came to the conclusion that Fabian had released the parking brake, put the car in neutral and attempted to steer it. Instead the car jumped over a small railing and sailed onto a tree which was between two lanes, one for entering and one for leaving. Amazingly no one was hurt and my car received only a few small scratches.
Our relationship suffered because of the incident and shortly thereafter we broke up. But that’s another story.
- Quick Tip: Your parking brake matters, now use it (shopautoweek.com)
- 2008 Toyota Corolla: New Corolla! (motortrend.com)