An interesting thing happened on my way to the car last week. Intriguing enough that I thought I would share the scenario with you and see what courses of action you might have taken in a similar situation. I am still going to leave out some background details out of concern for information protection, but let’s just say a number of us were required to spend time in an area that my presence may not have been appreciated by the some of the inhabitants. Sufficiently vague?… perfect.
To help alleviate some of the issues, we were requested to leave for the day 30 minutes before the rest of the people in hopes of relieving congestion. This worked out great for the first couple of days with a smooth transition to the car and ultimately back home. Unfortunately on the third day I was working on something that required staying to the normal quitting time. A little uneasy about this, I headed out to the car validating that there was a lot more traffic than the previous days, but not overly concerned. This kind of changed as I neared my truck. The graphic for today is actually a guide to the event so feel free to refer to it as I relate the story.
About 7 vehicles from my truck I noticed 3 people talking in front of a vehicle parked a couple down from me – identified by the second set of purple ‘P’s as you look up from the bottom of the graphic (note, the other 4 people (first set of P’s) were not there yet nor the red car in the middle of the aisle. Passing them, I noticed there was a person sitting in the car they were talking in front of as well as a person in the car directly South of my destination. For those keeping track, that is now 5 people in uncomfortable proximity to my vehicle. As I got into my truck (which was facing the lot fence) I looked to my right and saw another guy sitting in the truck directly North of me. Now we are at 6. While giving the engine a little bit of time to warm up (the temp was in the single digits and contrary to this Google Map picture, the lot was covered in snow), the silver vehicle comes up the aisle towards me and stops a few cars down from the first set of people. The exact count is a little fuzzy, but let’s assume there were two people in the vehicle and at least two other individuals came out to talk to them. The tally is now 10. Seconds before putting the truck in reverse, another vehicle drives up the aisle and passes behind me. The driver was probably in his late 50’s and possibly early 60’s and looked to be driving rather intently (shoulders riding high, double grip high on the steering wheel and eyes straight ahead. Noting that this particular aisle was a dead end at the fence line, I made an assumption that he was looking for the last remaining end spot. In what appeared to be a confirmation of this, he turned his car into the spot but not at the deep arc you would expect in order to properly hit the space. Alert to the other people in the area, I started to back out. Less than a quarter revolution of the tire later, I was on the brakes again because the car starts backing out of his end spot. Maybe he just wants to fix that angle to provide some additional room away from the other truck beside me? Another wrong assumption. The dude proceeds to back up until there is a visible impact on the vehicle parked on the other side of the aisle. Now my spidey senses were in full alert mode so pulled back into my space. All of the other people I could see were now also tuned into the situation and were staring at the driver. A quick check of him revealed the exact same expression and physical position he had when he passed me, with zero concern for the fact he had just hit another car. Instead he stutters the car back and forth until he gets his rear in line with his nose. On the last back up he pulls the wheel to the left to complete the 3 point turnaround. At this point the guy in the truck to my North gets a little concerned as the car proceeds to bounce off his bumper as it finally completed the 180 degree turn. By this time, the guy in the parked truck looks over to me with a surprised look and this is now the center of conversation with the rest of the people pointed out earlier. Expecting to get hit myself, I was extremely relieved when he successfully passed me, but that emotion was replaced by astonishment as the driver proceeded to drive down the aisle and turn left out of the lot with zero intention of taking accountability for his actions. Just to complete the setup, the driver of the parked truck got out and started inspecting the bumper (that was hit) and then walked over to the rest of the people to join in the discussion.
Now time for some audience participation – hit the jump to read the rest of the story.
If you were in this particular situation, what would you do?
- Get out and join the conversation with the rest of the people
- Write down the license plate of the dude who hit the cars and go report it to the building authorities immediately
- Make a fast exit and seek safety
- Be videotaping this whole thing and show it to the authorities
- Chase down the owner of the vehicle who hit the cars and carry your own brand of law enforcement
- Bring it to the attention of the building authorities the next day
- Call the police and have them come out while there were plenty of witnesses.
I’ll give you a few minutes to think this through. Did you pick option 1? This is pretty bold given the numbers and the background information provided regarding how appreciated your presence there is. Taking the license plate would have been prudent, but by the time I got my senses filtered out the car was to close for me to see the plates over my tailgate and the back plates were completely covered with snow due to the blizzard the night before. The hope was at least one of the other individuals were able to get the identify information. So there was no information to give to anyone and leaving the truck at that time didn’t seem prudent. The fast exit would have been great with the exception I was backed in with my 4-wheel locked in so getting out of the spot was going to be a difficult task with vehicles in the opposite aisle pretty close to me turning radius – not to mention the guy in the car directly to my South giving me little to no room to turn it sharp enough to swing out. I also didn’t want to get close to the other truck’s bumper should it look like I hit it as well since there might be damage there already. 4 seemed like a scary option seeing as how video cameras were really not allowed on the property and pictures were forbidden – whipping out my camera phone would put me on a fine line – not to mention if the other people knew the driver they might feel obligated to tell him this incident was being filmed by an “outsider”. 5 sounds heroic and worthy of praise and admiration until you do the mental math on the numbers and realize the driver probably has some angst for you. 6 is a definite option but then again there are 10 other people who belong to that building that would have a better idea of who to tell or even who the driver was. 7 doesn’t really apply in a private property situation and the LAST thing I wanted to do was delay these people from clocking into their shift. I’m liking 8 myself and very interested in what great ideas you might have – hit the comments to express your opinion!
I ended up taking an option that resulted in getting out of there as fast as possible. This was not fast (as in option 3) and required me to back up and move forward a couple of times to shift the truck closer to the parked truck to the North. This would have been hard enough without having the 4 wheel locked which restricted the turn radius significantly. Once shifted left, I was able to start back out at a sharper angle taking care not to broadside the parked car to the South (this took me two attempts but likely due to being overly cautious. On a final look back I got concerned that I was too close to another vehicle to make the final turn out of the space. I really could not comfortably go forward anymore and unsure whether I had the room to make it back without adding to the demolition derby. The guy who got of the truck to the North spotted me and motioned that I had room left to backup. Relying on his assessment I backed up a few more feet, brought the nose out and drove back down the aisle and out of the lot.
The good news is the rest of the days were not as eventful – likely due to the fact I made sure I made it out of their before the shift change!