I had an appointment to give blood at Luton Donor Centre and I thought it would be easier if I park in The Mall Shopping Centre. It was a Saturday afternoon and therefore the multi storey car park was busy and I had to go to the higher levels to find a free parking spot. I noted it was one floor below the roof and I was parked very close to the ramp going down.
After the appointment, I spent some time shopping before going home. When I was ready, I paid my parking fee inside the shopping centre and waited for the lift to go up. I got out at Floor 5, noting the last floor was number 6. I went straight for the ramp going down but didn't see my car. I started pressing the lock/unlock button on the remote to help me locate my vehicle. It wasn't there! So I walked all the way along the floor to the next ramp because I remembered I was close to the exit but still I didn't find my car.
I thought I may have got confused about the floor, so I walked again to where I was initially so I could take the ramp to go a floor higher. It was the roof parking as I was sure I didn't park there. So I went down to Floor 3 (since I already checked Floor 4) while pressing lock/unlock on the car key fob. Still nothing. I went to Floor 2 and checked everywhere but it seemed like my car has just disappeared.
I saw one of the valeting guys and I asked whether there was a different car park attached to the shopping centre and he said yes but it was on the other side. It didn't make any sense to me but he told me to go to the Help Point if I couldn't find my vehicle and they would send someone to help me.
I was adamant I could do this by myself, so I went all the way up again, checking each floor one more time. I knew I wasn't parked on the ground floor so I skipped that but all the other floors I checked and still it was in vain. By the time I reached the roof parking, I was really frustrated and thought maybe donating blood has caused me to lose my memory.
Calling for Assistance at the Help Point In The Car Park
When I reached the roof, I knew I wouldn't find my car there but still I tried searching for it. I was going crazy I thought, maybe it was old age. I was tired. I wanted to go home especially since it was now raining. I then saw the Help Point and I swallowed in my pride and press the button. The operator asked whether I remember which floor I was parked and whether it was a spiral thing when I was going up to park. I told him I know I was parked one level below the topmost floor and I couldn't remember anything else. He told me to wait by the Help Point and not to move.
Couple of minutes later, this guy came in a 4x4 and I got in. He told me there was a second car park for the shopping centre and I asked him whether we could go there as I've already checked this one. From where I was standing, I could see the other car park but I think I was too tired to go there. Anyway, as we got into this second parking area, I located my car instantly and thanked the guy.
How It All Ended
Honestly, I've never felt so stupid in my life. How does one lose his vehicle in a car park? Oh well, I suppose it happens. As I pushed the unlock button on my remote, the car didn't unlock. I tried a few times and my heart nearly stopped when it hit me the car remote wasn't working. I couldn't believe what was happening to me. I knew it's been a while since I've paid the parking ticket and now I couldn't even get into my car. I was just about to call someone for help (breakdown company or locksmith, I don't know) when I realised I could use the key to open the door manually.
Fortunately it worked and I drove off as fast as I could to get through the barrier at the exit. However when I inserted the chip coin in, it was taking quite a bit of time to process and I knew it wasn't a good sign. The display showed a message that extra payment was required probably because they allow you like 15 mins to get your car out of the parking area once you've paid and obviously I've spent more than that searching for my car (it must have been around 30mins).
I press the button to call for assistance and I explained what has happened and the operator asked me to re-insert my chip coin in and the gates open. What a day!
If you've ever lost your vehicle in the car park, I'd love to hear your story :)