I drove into the garage at the ATDC, and the gate was in the up position.
“That’s weird,” I said to myself.
I quickly decided I still needed to get a ticket for parking or I’d never get out of the garage. I pressed the machine which dispenses tickets, and it did nothing. I pressed it again. Nothing.
After parking my car, I decided to stop in and see Mike, the parking garage manager. I just happened to know where his office was because I had to go there to resolve an access card issue a couple of years ago.
“When I drove into the garage, the gate was up. I need you to give me a ticket so I can get out of the garage,” I explained to Mike.
“Hold on,” he said.
He turned to his computer screen and began searching for video of the garage entrance. “When did you enter?” he asked.
“Just a few minutes ago. I drove in, parked, and walked to this office,” I answered.
He kept looking at video history for a couple of minutes. He looked up and said, “Look what happened. A car pulled in right before you got there. He took a ticket, the gate opened, and then he backed out of the entrance.” Mike hit a button which closed the parking gate remotely.
“Now you know it wasn’t my fault. Please give me a ticket to get out of the garage,” I said.
“I can’t do that. You need to go back to your car and exit. Then re-enter the garage,” he said.
“No. Just give me a ticket to get out of the garage,” I said.
He wouldn’t budge. He kept insisting I needed to do what he told me to do. He said this was the only way it could work. If I didn’t, I would be delayed at the exit and forced to pay a full day’s parking.
“Not if you give me a ticket right now so when I exit I don’t pay anything,” I said.
I walked back to my car and attempted to exit the garage. I expected Mike to be monitoring the camera and open the garage. No chance of that. I had to push the call button and ask the security guard to call Mike to get him to open the gate. I sat there with cars behind me. It felt like forever as I hate to hold people up. Within a minute, the gate opened.
I pulled out and then pulled back in and got a parking ticket. I walked back to Mike’s office and presented it to him. He asked, “How long will you be parking with us?”
I replied, “I think I’ll be a couple of hours. Why not make it for the rest of the day?”
“Will you be a couple of hours or all day?” he asked with some impatience.
I was starting to think this was so ridiculous it was funny. I wondered if this is what it is like to be on Candid Camera.
“Make it for three hours,” I said.
Mike replied, “I have to figure out how to do this.” He started typing the long number on my ticket into his computer.
I said, “Give me the ticket. I’ll pay for the parking. However, let’s be fair here. I did nothing wrong. I complied with your crazy request to exit and re-enter the garage. Now I have to wait even longer to get free parking. Also, it will be limited to how long I think I’ll be here. Come on!”
Mike said, “I am sorry, but I have to do it this way. This is the way my boss says to do it. I can’t let you have free parking. It is not what we do.”
The rest of the story.
I told Mike, “God made you perfectly. You are the way God made you. This job is perfect for you. It makes sense to you. Just as God made me for my job. Together we make the world work just like God planned.”
Mike said, “Thanks. That’s true.”
“Have a nice day!” I said with a smile as I left Mike’s office.