parking attendant

Some time ago we received a request by an organisation to track down a gentleman who had allegedly stolen a considerable amount of money.  The communication was notably short on detail and the only contact we had was a mobile number and a gmail email account.

When we did speak to them the clients were vague to say the least and very cagey on how much had been stolen and how the theft had occurred.  The combination of the lack of detail  and us being somewhat intrigued as to why they had not approached les garcons en bleu we decided to have a nosey and see what was what.

So we contacted them to arrange a meet.  They were very cloak and dagger and insisted on the utmost secrecy and we agreed to meet in a cafe in Weston Super Mare.  It was a horrid day and the rain was lashing down and I was bloody soaked by the time I got the RV which was a grotty little café.

There were two middle aged men in suites looking very furtive in the corner and they could not have looked more out of place if they had tried.  I got myself a cup of tea and went to the table and introduced myself.  The two gents looked about them and I wondered if I should break the news to them that the Berlin Wall had come down some years ago and that there was no longer an East and West.

I decided that it would be wasted on them and sat down.

“Well gentleman what can I do for you?”

They looked even more furtive.

“This is very sensitive” said the older man looking very serious.

“So I understand which is why I am here” I assured him.

“We represent ….and organisation which has a car park for 150 cars” He said tentatively and stopped.

“Yes and so?”

“And 8 coaches” added the second chap.

A further silence.  Christ this is going to take frigging weeks I thought seriously regretting not sending Cyclops.

“It was manned by a very pleasant attendant”  Silence

“Good I am so pleased but what has that got to do with a substantial theft and me”

“He had a ticket machine”

“I think you will find that to be fairly standard practice” I said getting a little irritable.

They nodded.  The older bloke continued “Charging cars £1 and coaches £5”

“Ok do I take it then that this fella has nicked some of the parking money then?” I asked trying to speed things a long a bit.

They looked even more sheepish and nodded “Well sort of”

“so why don’t you dig his details out from your HR records and hand them to the police or was he shagging the MD or something and is now blackmailing you”

The older man blushed “I did no such thing” he said indignantly “Sorry I was speaking metaphorically no offence intended”

“This parking attendant” continued the younger man worked there for 25 years.”

“An impressive records, shame there aren’t more people like that” I said

“Hmmm yes I suppose” He agreed half heartedly “ But you see one day, he just didn’t turn up for work.”

“So?” I said not really following where this was going

“Well we thought we had better phone the Council and get them to send a new parking attendant…”

“And?”

“They said the car park was our  responsibility”…they went very silent “But we told them that was not correct and that the attendant was employed by the City Council”

I looked at them “ He wasn’t employed by the council was he?”  They shook their heads and he obviously wasn’t employed by you or you wouldn’t have rung the council  and we wouldn’t be having this chat would we?”

They shook their heads and looked very sorry for themselves.

“How much does the car ark take per day since he left” I asked

In a barely audible whisper the younger man said “On average £400 a day based on a 7 day week”.

I prodded the calculator on my snappy new Iphone and oohh lala assuming he took  £400 per day, 7 days a week for 25 years this amounts to just over £36 million…Fuck me they weren’t lying when they used the word substantial and no wonder they were looking glum, but I couldn’t help myself smile.

“Its not laughing matter” said the older man rather crossly.

“You’re right” I said and then followed this little lie with a verbal estimate of our fees plus our commission. 

The old fella looked rather put out and said “You have to be joking” I looked at him very intently. “Oh no I’m not and I just agree it is not a laughing matter.  Furthermore I don’t take to kindly to being dragged to Weston super Mud on a wet day to have my time wasted. Is that understood”

They nodded.

“Do you own the land that the car park is situated on?”

“Yes we do and our organisation has done for over 150 years” said the younger man more positively

“Right well that’s something , so  if you want us to get some of your money back you know our fees and we will want as much information about this man that you can give us”

They looked embarrassed and the starred at their tea cups

“You don’t know anything about this man do you?”

“Err no not really” they said

“Oh people called him Reg, he had a hip replacement and he had once been a water ski instructor in Spain in about 1970 and we think he had a villa there” 

I don’t know why, but they looked very pleased with themselves at knowing so little about a man who stood on their land for 25 years making a possible £36 Million.

I have to say I sort of admire the bloke’s front, but the story just serves to underline that you should not take things for granted and always check who you are dealing with and make sure you know what is what, because  if you don’t you will loose out.

3 Responses to “parking attendant”

  1. Des says:

    For you kids playing along at home (in the US anyway)that’s getting into the neighborhood of $57 MILLION US $, not accounting for any investment value lost. Simple compound interest of 4% over 25 years would twist that blade a few more times.

    Glum indeed. 😀

  2. dl says:

    Well, well! I heard exactly that story only two or three weeks ago, and didn’t think any more of it. The organisation concerned was certainly in the same general neck of the woods as the RV you described – and local to where I work.

    Best wishes,
    D.

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