Things Strangers Say: Gym (B)Rats

by Amelia Kanan

Returning to the parking garage, two 40-something women walked up to the valet’s desk and handed the man their ticket stubs.

“Fifteen dollah each,” he said with a Vietnamese accent.

“But it’s free parking for the first three hours,” the woman with electric blue Fendi sunglasses snapped, with fry in her voice.

“Need validation,” he said.

“I come here all the time and this is never a problem. Where’s Carlos?”

“Carlos not here today.”

“You gave us these tickets an hour ago,” the other woman, in a hot pink trucker hat, spouted off. Gesturing to her lulu gear, she continued, “Clearly, we were at the gym. The only gym here and you know they validate.”

“Rules are validation only,” the man said without looking at them and kept busy with a stack of papers.

Fendi was pissed.

“But that means we have to go all the way back, up two escalators and into the gym just to get a stupid, little stamp.”

Hot Pink Trucker honed in on logistics, “It’s not even an electronic system – so it doesn’t need to be scanned. You’re just making this difficult for no reason.”

Almost smiling, Fendi spoke slowly, accentuating her fry, “Right. So, do you understand how your validation process is pointless?”

A full minute passed as the grown women stared in silence at the valet, who hadn’t abandoned his paperwork diversion ploy.

Hot Pink Trucker wasn’t having it, “Excuse me, we’re asking you a question. Are you unable to provide an answer?”

“He probably doesn’t understand, he can barely speak English.”

“Do you have a manager we can speak to?”

“Yes. Me,” the man looked Hot Pint Trucker dead in the eyes.

“Let’s just report him to the gym. We pay too much money to be treated like this,” surrendering her fight, Fendi initiated the walk away.

While going back up the two escalators and into the gym, an older man brought his stamped ticket to the valet. In exchange, the valet beamed a warm smile and a hearty thank you before the customer walked to his car.

The women returned, hushed. Hot Pink Trucker threw her stamped piece of paper in the general direction of the valet. He struggled to bend to the ground where the ticket landed.

Glaring from above, Fendi placed her ticket on the desk and said, “You’re rude and ungrateful for the position you’ve been allowed.”

Upon their final exit and unaware of the situation, the older man drove up, got out of his car, and handed the valet a fifty-dollar bill.

He thanked the valet for his smile and said, “It comforts me to know there are good people living in this world. Happy holidays, sir.”

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