I had a meeting in a big office building next to the Prudential Center shopping center in Boston yesterday. I parked in the massive– and massively expensive–underground garage. I told myself to be careful with the ticket, and stuck it in my pocket with my phone. Then I got a phone call, and who knows where I jettisoned that ticket when I pulled the phone out.
I realized it was missing three hours later.
I went to the shopping center info desk with my time stamped visitor’s badge, ready to plead my case. I REALLY did not want to pay some crazy overnight parking charge. (I’ve written previous posts here and here on the lengths I go to not spend money.)
Here’s the exchange:
Me: “I was just over at 111 Huntington for a meeting and I lost my parking ticket. Here’s my visitor’s pass…the guard marked the time. Can you issue me a new parking ticket?”
Twenty something dude, with long hair, employee: “You say you lost your parking ticket?”
Employee: “About what time?”
Me: “Hmmm. I got in the building at 12:05. It was a long walk in the garage, so say 11:45.”
Employee: “Here you go.”
The laconic seeming guy then handed me my dropped parking ticket! I know because I wrote the number of my parking space on it (a necessity–I could get lost in my own house). Some nice person plucked it off the terrazzo floor, in the middle of masses of milling shoppers, and walked over and turned it in!
I told this to a bunch of Irish friends last night. They were delighted. “Only in America” they said. I loved living in Ireland but I realized I would never have even set out on this quest in Dublin. I just had a hunch it would work out in Boston.
No massively insightful conclusion here. I just like sharing these wide-eyed kind of stories because they might inspire people to other acts of kindness. In fact, I think I’ll submit this to the “Tales from the City” editor of the Boston Sunday Globe magazine. They do such a great job highlighting the heartwarming, the quirky, and the humanity of our city.
Update, August 2, 2009. The Globe actually published this story, here.