Just a little accident

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By Tony Samson

PARKING LOTS, especially in building basements of condos, have their share of little accidents. Because of the tight slots allocated even for small cars, as well as the constricted turns allowed for backing into or out of parking, mishaps are bound to happen. Entries and exits may cause dings and whacks on side mirrors and such. It’s a maneuvering challenge, especially for inexperienced drivers. Maybe some financial settlements for repairs and detail-work are quietly negotiated, if these incursions are admitted in the first place. And the matter is quickly forgotten.

Risks of collisions are high. This is to be differentiated from ramming which has a hint of malice and premeditation to assert territorial imperatives and possibly qualifying under the same category as road rage and all the violence that can entail, as well as the publicity and litigation. But parking-lot incidents involving slow-moving vehicles, albeit with the same impatience as road-bound counterparts to get on with life’s hurried pace need not be contentious events.

It is a bit surprising then that an otherwise routine matter in a basement parking lot has caused such a commotion. Here are some aspects of the parking lot brouhaha that stirred not just the members of the condo association, but some other nosy neighbors dipping into what should have been just a day at the office, or parking lot.

The bump in this case was quite severe, taking out the rear lights and bending the fender (also known as a “fender-bender”) and in the process puncturing one of the tires beyond the ministrations of a vulcanizing shop. The car was also loaded with some farm produce which all spilled out into the garage, even rolling down to the lower basement. This financial loss was estimated to be high.


The offending vehicle (let’s call it the “rammer”) was from another condo building and simply sneaking into this basement parking as an intruder. The driver of this car is presently unidentified but already known to also stray into other basement parking areas of other condo buildings.

The CCTV in the parking basement only caught a blurred view of the car speeding away after the incident. The plate number was still temporary and by now might possibly have been replaced. Representatives of the other condo unit who felt alluded to as possible cohorts of the renegade rammer are pleading for calm and offering an alternate theory. Might the rammer not have been surrounded by the other cars in the basement and threatened with a sticker removal? And could he not have bumped into the complainant’s car in his hurry to get out of the scene?

The first reactions from the security chief and the spokesperson of the “invaded” condo were all self-righteous assertions of the right to park in one’s own parking basement, invoking the UN-sanctioned “law of the parked vehicles.” There is no negotiation where sovereignty is concerned.

Further queries into what happens next after such an incursion seemed to have turned the page of the hymn book. Is the “mutual parking pact” binding certain condo building going to be activated? Is this incident to be considered a form of aggression and a violation of the right to park after paying the condo dues? Will this lead into the declaration of a no-park zone?

The silence of the condo head was baffling. There was no immediate statement coming from a usually unfettered source of directives laden with expletives. His representative has explained this unaccustomed meditative stance as the deportment of a member of the bar careful with his judgment, like the blindfolded symbol of justice with the weighing scales of pros and cons.

How can we act without all the facts? The representative was almost pleading after his emotional U-turn. The parking lot attendant is saying one thing — yes, the ramming was deliberate and unprovoked. The other condo building head is saying another — it’s self-defense. Let’s look at that busted CCTV again.

The word was out — get the facts. Some subordinate unaccustomed to this use of the “F” word may even have tried to clarify — Sir, is that for carnal knowledge or data-gathering?

Yes, everybody must calm down over this little bump in the road. It’s just a parking lot after all. And of course, it was just a little accident. Can we now move on to business?


Tony Samson is Chairman and CEO, TOUCH xda.