Just because you've reached your car in the airport parking lot doesn't mean you're safe from travel-related calamities. Sometimes, that last leg can be hardest.
First, let me set the scene: I was flying from Dulles to Toronto on Saturday and, after circling the economy lot for what felt like an Ice Age, I finally decided to just park it--on a glacier. (The lot had not been plowed to perfection, so spaces were limited or obstructed.) I was hoping that the icy chunk would melt before my return, so I could drive right off it. How wrong I was. When I returned on Monday, I swear the glacier had grown. None of my car's tires was touching the ground; my four-door appeared to be levitating.
I went to the emergency box near the shuttle station to call for assistance, but the phone was as dead as, yes, my battery. (Oh, did I forget to mention that?) I soon flagged down a pick-up truck carrying two employees of the District of Columbia Parking Associates. The airport contracts the company to maintain the parking lot and assist passengers. (They have four maintenance trucks, but add more staff during weather emergencies.) So, if you've misplaced your car, need a jump start or a bit of fuel, have locked yourself out or have a flat tire, these are your heros. They also help freezed-up, snowed-in motorists.
The two men who helped me out admitted that mine was the worse case they'd seen. They weren't kiddng: It took more than a half-hour and every tool in their truck to free me. When I could finally move, they high-fived each other, packed up their shovels and picks, and raced off to help the next person in distress. Supermen in Carharts.
So, lessons learned: Don't park on a glacier, carry a blowtorch in your truck and thank Dulles and DCPA for remembering that just because the plane has landed doesn't mean the trip is over.
If you need assistance in the economy lot, go to a emergency call box, flag down a shuttle bus or a DCPA truck, or call the maintenance company at 703-572-4500.
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