Sunday, June 28, 2009

How to get free parking at a hospital

A few years ago, my grandmother was in the hospital on her birthday. Not wanting to let the occasion pass uncelebrated, my family and I met on her Hospital floor at the end of the day and asked permission to decorate the visiting lounge for grandma. We hung streamers and blew up balloons, spread a paper tablecloth on one of the tables, brought gifts, a cake, and paper plates.

Mom escorted grandma from her room, down the hall and into the lounge for her Surprise Party. She wasn't hospitalized for a heart condition, so we felt it okay to surprise the old gal. I think she was turning 86.

She had (to quote her) a gay old time and was duly surprised. We brought along sparklers and candles to decorate the cake and proceeded to fire them up and poke them into the icing.

Big mistake! Stupidly big mistake!

Before we could sing the first strains of Happy Birthday, the smoke detectors went off which then set the fire alarms blaring throughout that floor of the hospital.

"Oh, shit! We did that!," I shouted to Mom as I went tearing down the hallway at breakneck speed to the Nursing Station. "There's no fire! There's no fire! It was us lighting some sparklers on a birthday cake!," I said to the nurse.

Too late. The fire department had automatically been dispatched and the hospital was locked-down which included not allowing anyone else to enter the underground parkade. Wanting to clear out the cars that were exiting as quickly as possible, they stopped taking the parking tolls at the booth and just let everyone go. At $5 a car, I'm not sure how much revenue they lost.

The firefighters, once they heard what idiots we had been, were real sweethearts about it. We offered them each a piece of cake, which they declined.

So next time you want free parking at a hospital, now you know how :)