Typically the first thing that comes to mind when drivers pull into a parking garage in New York City is, “How much is this going to cost me?” Then while watching the vehicle drive away the thought changes to, “What condition will it be in later?”
I have been there many times myself. Once I remember being dumbfounded when I was charged $67 to park for three hours. And of course the instances in which the car pulls up with yellow or white paint chips on it where the attendant scraped a pillar.
However, I have been very fortunate to have some great experiences parking in one particular garage in Chelsea.
A few months ago I pulled into this garage where I have been parking for seven and a half years. At the time I had been on vacation for two weeks. It was around 5 a.m. and I was still in vacation mode. The parking attendant came walking briskly out of the booth smiling and holding something in his hand. He said “This is yours.” He then held out a scarf. Confused at first I just looked at him. He then handed it to me and again said “This is yours. We have had it for many days. We haven’t seen you in a long while.” Still confused I took the scarf and looked at it. It was indeed mine. It wasn’t worth much but the fact that they held it for me for two weeks and gave it to me the minute I came back was priceless. Later that day when I went back to retrieve the car, two additional employees of the parking garage asked immediately, “Did you get your scarf?”
This isn’t the only instance in which I have experienced acts of kindness at this same parking facility. Three years ago I left my cell phone on the counter. Again, I wasn’t in the office for nearly two weeks. When I returned my cell phone was there on the shelf in the booth. I had already purchased a new one figuring the other had been long gone.
Going back almost six years ago I was leaving work and had to catch a flight to California. When the attendant pulled my car around the tire was flat. I had been having problems with the same tire. The group of men immediately offered to change the flat for me. They removed the old tire and went into the trunk to get my spare. I informed them I did not have any extra cash on me to pay them. They said, “Don’t worry about it.”
It could be that this particular garage just knows how to hire good people. It could be that I always try and show respect through the way of asking, “How is your day?” or “Good Morning?” Maybe it’s because I tip them every day. Whatever the reason treating people with respect could go a long way. You never know how people can surprise you.
Jennifer Madden covers New Jersey for NY1.