We chose valet parking because the other option didn’t seem so great, which was leaving our vehicle parked on a dimly lit downtown street and adding money to the meter every few hours. Twenty bucks is a hefty sum just to drive your car ’round back and park it, but we were buying peace of mind and some level of assurance that our vacation stuff would be safe during our overnight stay in Columbus. Emily and I wanted some good rest before we continued our journey to beautiful Palm Coast, Florida, home of my sister and brother* and temperatures that are even cooler than it is back home in Michigan.
SMASH (sparkle, sparkle).
Unlock door, open glove box. Remove contents. Open center console. Remove contents. Ooooh: big luggage. Get that one. Now let’s go.
That was so easy!
Thieves bashed our rear passenger window and took Emily’s luggage. I say it was her luggage because 1) it’s purple and 2) it had all of her clothes inside. Stolen.
All of this took place while we were sleeping, blissfully ignorant and dreaming about, oh, I don’t know, a sunny beach in Florida. We woke up, packed our backpacks (thinking that a convoy of 8 bags from the lobby to the 10th floor wouldn’t be necessary). Down the stairs we went, checking out and ready to go. Valet parking saw our tag and headed to the secret lair where our truck was stored for the night.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, sir, but… there was a break-in to your vehicle.”
Shocked, I asked for clarification. How did he know there was a break in? He said that the shattered glass was their first clue.
We went to the valet parking garage, which was not the fortress of security that we had imagined. Just a parking deck in downtown Columbus, easily accessible from every side. No cameras. No fencing. Well, maybe fencing of Emily’s clothes, but that’s it.
Here’s what we saw:
If the back window looks especially clean, that’s because it is. Cleaned and scrubbed with so much passion that it just shattered and took the form of pebbles resting peacefully on our running board. Inside, more pebbles of tinted window in and on everything — seat pockets, cup holders, even the luggage they left behind.
What they took was a 700 gallon (or so) travel suitcase, the kind with wheels and a telescoping handle. It was also the kind that had all of Emily’s stuff in it, which is in the process of being replaced. The window, too, is now replaced, and looks strange because 1) it’s newer, so the tinting is darker and 2) it’s not a garbage bag.
A phone call to insurance revealed that we won’t quite reach our deductible. A phone call to the valet parking company revealed that they don’t return phone calls. I’m not too worried about getting it all sorted out because these things usually find their own groove. Emily, on the other hand, is bummed because she had some outfits given to her by my mom in the stolen luggage. I had some underwear in there, too, which makes me wonder just what it was like to get this huge case back from the poorly guarded downtown lot, only to find that its full of women’s clothes and special order boxers. “Wait — these aren’t iPods!” one might exclaim. He’s right. Oh, he’s right.
I figure this happened to us because we were Michigan fans in Ohio State territory. Perhaps it was Jim Tressel. We can’t be sure.
* My sister and brother-in-law; I do not have two siblings that are intermarried.
Adam Davidson is known for telling stories about his losses at the expense of Ohio State University.