HOW A THUNDERSTORM SOLVED A PIZZA JOINT PARKING LOT PRANG (With help from a
There are times when you start something and as it develops or
moves along, the end result becomes something that you couldn’t have imagined at
the time you started it. This is the tale of one of those adventures.
The heat of a late summer afternoon in Kamloops, B.C., was
generating a giant thunderstorm, the likes of which are killers of small
airplanes. This one was predicted to be a fairly moderate disturbance, with
rain, thunder and lightning. As it approached, it became evident that it would
“We need the rain”, was the common wisdom among the folks who
had been enduring a summer of dry heat. The farmers were more than worried, the
fruit growers were rationing the precious water on their crops. Most people
actually had high hopes that this would be the storm to turn the corner on the
long, hot season.
The pilots around the airport kept a close eye on the monster
approaching the field. The tie-downs were tight on the airplanes out on the
ramp, and hangar doors were secured. I had a partnership in a little Cessna, and
that particular day, my partner, Trevor, had departed for Kelowna, about 80
miles to the southeast. I knew he would be scrambling to get back home ahead of
the storm, and my fingers were crossed that he would make it in time.
The balcony of my sixth-floor downtown apartment was a great
vantage point for watching the approaching storm. As well, it faced the
direction from which Trevor would be flying home. So there I was, high up on the
building, with my binoculars and a portable radio, scanning the southern sky,
searching for the little airplane.
There was a good view of the surrounding city from that balcony.
Traffic and pedestrian movement, many other buildings close by, and even the
hospital and its activity were always interesting. In the ally below, the
regular dumpster divers provided entertainment. At the end of the block there
was a pizza joint. On that particular afternoon as I stood watching the sky, I
happened to notice a vehicle move through the lane and turn onto a side street
beside the pizza place. Somehow, it proceeded onto the sidewalk and entered the
restaurants parking lot, then smashed into a parked car. By then, my attention
was fully on things below. The driver got out and walked around surveying the
damage he’d done. For some reason my suspicious nature took hold and I began to
wonder if he might just leave the scene and the victims vehicle with the bashed
in front end. Fortunately, I thought, I had my binoculars in hand and was in a
perfect position to record the license plate on his car.
I wasn’t totally surprised when the driver did exactly what I
suspected. He took a look around, got back in his car, which had only minor
damage, and drove off.
Since the victims’ vehicle was obviously in bad shape, I had a
moral decision to make. Although still concerned about my airplane and the storm
coming in, apparently at about the same time, it seemed appropriate to keep an
eye on the sky. But it did occur to me that the owner of that broken car might
up-chuck his pizza when he returned and found it. After considering the options,
I decided to head down to the pizza joint and provide my evidence (the other
guys license number) to the owner for his upcoming police report.
The owner of the damaged car turned out to be a very nice older
man. He was from another town, and that day he and his wife were visiting the
city. Quite alarmed about their vehicle, they immediately called the police, and
politely requested me to provide my information directly to the officer when he
arrived. In the meantime, I was welcome to join them for a slice or two of the
pizza they were eating. So, what else could I do. It was getting close to dinner
When the police showed up, it soon became clear that the
somewhat overweight officer was more interested in the free pizza than getting
the business at hand done. He eagerly accepted the offer to join in the little
dinner party as information was exchanged. When it came time for me to give my
statement, I had my fingers crossed for my partner and our airplane. “Trevor,
you’re on your own buddy”, I thought. This was going to take a while. Another
pizza had just arrived, courtesy of the restaurant.
When I got to the part about the binoculars
and standing out on the balcony, things suddenly went quiet. The cops expression
was serious when he looked at me and said, “Just who were you looking at?”