Friday, March 11, 2016

Parking Lot Encounters

I walked out of Kroger holding a bag that contained Naked juices, a pineapple and some kiwis when I spotted a car that looked like Tucker's wheel into the parking lot.
I hadn't been home yet since going to work then the gym so I walked over to surprise him, as young men love to be surprised by their mothers out in public.
Tuck clutched a sandwich bag jammed full of change. He planned to go in Kroger to use the change counter and get bills in return. I made a half-hearted effort to convince him to put the coins in rolls and take them to the bank, but he wanted the immediate opportunity to pour coins into the metal tray and receive cash back, even though it cost him 7%.
"Ok," I said and reached up to kiss him on the cheek.
"Hey, none of that," shouted an old man wheeling a cart around the parking lot. I'd already noticed him looking up and down the aisles searching for his car.
"That's my son," I told the old man who had smiled after his bark.
He admitted that he needed some help finding his car. "Has that ever happened to you?" he asked.
And I agreed that I had misplaced my car before, thinking of times when I was pregnant and not quite sure where I'd parked.
"What's the car look like?" I asked.
"I knew you were going to ask that and the truth is, I don't know."
At this point, I was doubtful the guy should be driving anyway. I looked around the parking lot. I saw a Kroger employee walk out the door to gather carts, and I wondered if I could simply shuffle the old guy to the people who worked there.
Instead, I asked the man if he had a key fob. I showed him my key with the lock and unlock buttons.
"All I have is this," he said, pulling out a key, a crushed tissue and a coin. I pushed the tissue aside and pointed out the buttons on his key.
I pushed the lock button and heard a beep a few rows over. "Sounds like it's over there," I motioned. It took a few more beeps before I got him to  move in that direction.
We found his silver Accord with temporary plates on it. No wonder he couldn't remember what it looked like. He'd just gotten it.
I showed him the trunk button on the key and he began to move his plastic bags from the cart to his trunk, but didn't set me free yet.
"Guess how old I am?" he asked.
"75?" I guessed politely, thinking he looked much older.
"Come on," he said. "Really guess."
"80," I tried again.
"I fought in World War II for 27 months and came home in December..."
"Oh, no. Not math," I said.
Another woman pushed her cart to a  nearby car. "My father fought in World War II," she began before he barked at her.
"I'm not talking to you." Then he smiled.
"I'm 90 years old."
Luckily, I didn't have to respond because the other woman began a conversation.
"I'll take your cart back," I offered and walked back into the store, determined to track down Tucker and tell him about the old man. I wanted to give the old guy plenty of time to leave before I headed back to the parking lot.
And, although he hadn't departed, he was safely ensconced in his car and would hopefully make it home without further incident.


Just Me said...

Ha! I loved this post.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

What a story! Seriously, I know I'm consider a senior now (young one LOL) but, I think there needs to be vision and road tests for seniors over 75 every few years. There are way too many scary elderly drivers out there. How about the ones that are so short it looks like a headless driver behind the wheel. These days between seniors and distracted drivers and DUI drivers you take your life in your hands whenever you leave home by car or foot IMO

Paulita said...

Diane, You're right. I remember riding with my father-in-law and pointing out someone walking along the road who he didn't even see. Scary stuff.
Just Me, I knew you'd laugh picturing me captured in the parking lot with an old guy.

Terra Hangen said...

How nice you escorted the man to his car, and also saw your son in the parking lot. 90 is old for driving for most people, but then 16 is young for driving.

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