Dis-Un-Empowered Government Employee – Scott to the rescue of the citizens!

If it were not so sad, it would be funny.

With a friend and parking in an Asheville, NC downtown city-owned parking garage, we get back to the car only to find everything backed up and nothing moving. Maybe one car seemed to actually exit in the first 5 or 10 minutes. In front of us is a white truck with an amber spinning warning light (off) on the top, that I walk past as I stroll toward the front to see if I can find out anything…

As I pass the door, a guy gets out of the truck and I can see, “Parking Authority” on the door, so I suggest that he give me his keys and that he go up past the 15 or so stopped cars to check out and see if he can solve the problem. Well, after 15 minutes, there is maybe one car leaving every 5 minutes (and hundreds left stalled, since the downtown art fair ended and everyone was trying to get home, it being 4 PM on Sunday.

Now, being in charge of this truck, I ask the woman in front of it and the guy ahead of her to scrunch up a little so I can get by and put the truck into a Handicapped Parking place and get it out of the way. (There are now LOTS of spaces beginning to open up so handicapped access was no problem.) Cars are now slowly getting out – 1 every 5 minutes or so. We have now been stalled for about 30 minutes.

I then walk up to the front and watch the guy for a moment. He is taking the parking entrance cards and then manually processing what should be an automated exit since the processing machine was not working. It is taking a long time. People are getting upset. People are wasting gasoline. This is not working well…

I go back to the car and we eventually get to the guy and the machine. I suggest that he simply help the city to avoid a LOT of bad will and complaints by simply allowing the cars to leave smoothly and without paying — he should just open the gate. After all, everyone now has been overcharged an hour and they have wasted a great deal of their time.

What is funny is that he says, “Wait here and I will go back to my truck and get the pass card.”

So, with US NOW APPEARING TO BE BLOCKING THE EXIT, he walks back up the stairs to where I parked his car and gets the card and walks back and uses the card to let us out (without paying). I am guessing that he “cost” the city a few hundred dollars, since there were cars backed up on 5 levels of this full parking lot. But I think he also saved the city a good bit of grief in having to respond to a lot of pretty disgruntled people who wanted partial refunds on their fees.

One wonders this: Why did he not take the card with him when he walked up there the first time? Why did it take 30 minutes of additional time for him to get the idea of simply letting people out?

(He also called someone on his cell phone, which he also apparently left in his truck) on the way back to the gate. Probably his boss, to ask permission.

We did not pay to park. We were the first ones – the other 15 cars that were ahead of us all paid!

Wheeeee. Guess he was simply choosing NOT to do something to fix the problem by his actions. He was simply trying to process the transactions. He did say that he was concerned that he would get into trouble because his truck was parked in a handicapped space!! He could have made a lot of different choices than he did, but he probably felt that he couldn’t…

Yeah, sometimes one just has to step up…

 

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Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott atscott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/

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