Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Parking Guy

Methodist Hospital has two parking structures for employees, but the north one is inaccessible because of the construction of a second tower for patient rooms. In the meantime, employees have The Parking Guy.

The south parking structure is pretty easy to park in for the night shift, but starts to fill up between 6 and 7 a.m. By 8, when the day shift has arrived, all spaces are taken and The Parking Guy and his assistants go to work. They double park the new arrivals behind the cars on one side of the aisle and place a ticket on each windshield. As people leave during the day, they move the double parked cars into the newly vacant spaces. No matter when you come and go, The Parking Guy always seems to know the location of each car and every open space. He also can associate every employee with his or her own car by sight. His most spectacular feat comes at about three in the afternoon, when all the double parked cars have been moved into spaces. He then takes all of those car keys and walks around the hospital, unerringly handing the correct keys to each employee. Affixed to your keys is the parking ticket from your windshield with a notation on it to tell you where your car is now parked.

How does this guy know everybody? How does he keep from confusing my grey Saturn with the other grey Saturn that looks just like it? In a place where nursing students and chaplain interns come and go every three months, how does he learn the new employees and their cars within a week of their start date?

Every job has its complexities and difficulties. Every job that exists is worth doing the best you can. It may not sound like much to be The Parking Guy in a staff parking structure in a mid-sized hospital in a suburb of L.A., but it's pretty special when you really do it well.

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