–Friday June 29th–
When we arrived at the Atlanta Airport we pulled into the first available long term parking lot. I grabbed the ticket and hung a left and immediately noticed an empty spot to the left. I pulled in and we unloaded the luggage. As we walked back towards the center aisle we noticed a slightly better lit spot along the fence near the entrance ticket booths. So I moved the car and after 4 tries of backing it in, I got it centered and straight enough to not be embarrassing.
Made note of our row number (17) and assuming it worked like it does at most airports we rolled our luggage to the center aisle to get to a shuttle bus shelter. There were no shelters, hmmm. We wandered back and forth a bit looking, but the only thing we saw was a small building that had a shuttle bus parked near it. As we headed that way we noticed a shuttle bus coming our way.
It drove right by.
So we continued our way to the building where Donna found a locked door and when she tapped on a window, she was ignored. Returning to the center aisle we saw another shuttle bus. It saw us and promptly turned down a row, drove to the end aisle, drove a ways and came back out in the center aisle past where we were!
About then a young couple showed up in their car and told us they thought we needed to be way down on the other end where there was someone directing cars into parking spots and that is where the buses picked up people. They offered us a ride, but we declined, it was only about as many yards away as what the temperature was, 107.
As we walked towards where we were supposed to go, we noticed for the first time the traffic director guy who was all gesticulating like a Bermuda traffic cop, but with a lime green vest, instead of a snappy uniform, and matching lime green gloves, instead of white. Once on the bus, the driver asked where we parked and I explained our spot. He wrote down 18A on a magenta square of paper.
–Friday July 6th Really Late–
We collect our luggage and wheel out it to the curb where there are three Park-N-Fly buses just waiting. As we approach the first one drives off, so we go for the closest bus. The driver next to the door shakes his head and points at the other bus. As we head forward, that bus starts to move. Great! As we start to turn round, we realize that it was just pulling up to fill the spot vacated by the previous bus. Sheepishly we turn back around and get on the (now) first bus.
The very cheerful and personable driver asked for our little pink ticket with our row number. We waited a few minutes and a couple of young guys, then a young husband and wife duo boarded. As they handed her their tickets, she closed the door and off we went. I guess at this time of night on a Friday, the occupants of three cars is a full load.
The driver tells us we’ll go to our car first. And because of the time of night, she will stay with each of us until our car starts for safety reasons. We drove down “our“row, but there was no Purple Whale. It wasn’t because it had been stolen (I hoped) because this wasn’t really our row as there weren’t any tickets booths right behind it. But because we came in at mid day and it is now dark as dark can be and the bus didn’t come in the same way we drove in a week ago, I’m a little disorientated as to where we actually are. The driver cruised the next row over and asked me to hit the door lock button, so we could find the car by the flashing lights. No lights.
On to Plan B. We head off to find the two guys’ truck. We are looking for a beige Ford pickup truck. We cruise down the row that was written on his ticket. The driver asks, “Can you see it?” He replies, “I can’t see anything. The windows are so darkly tinted.” She calls back, “Use your clicker.” He goes, “My truck doesn’t have that.” So now there are 7 sets of eyes peering into the darkness looking for a brown pickup truck. The young husband calls out, “Is that it?!” Nope. The driver asks, “Is that it?” “No.” We cruise down the adjacent row where finally the fellow calls, “There it is.” The shuttle bus driver asks, “Did you pull through?” “Ahh, yeah,” came the reply.
The wife of the other couple says, “We did too.” So now the driver knows to go down Row 3 instead of Row 2 that was written on their ticket and we make short work of finding their red Chevy Cavalier. Back to finding the Purple Whale.
We tell our driver that it is backed into a spot next to the incoming ticket booths. We tell her it is across from a trailer or something and she says, “We don’t have no trailers here. Maybe it is the company building.” We head back down to Row 17 and there in all its flashing turn signal glory was our car. We say, “Thanks,” as we exit and hear the driver muttering under her breath, “Those idiots need to start writing down the right numbers…”