Let me start off by saying I had a hell of a weekend with the positives far outweighing the negatives and all things considered, they could have been MUCH worse. But I can't help but shake my head and laugh when I think about what I went through.

First, we head to Portland. I went to see Scott Stapp of Creed at Aura. I had VIP Meet & Greet and I planned on stopping by a local bar to see local 90's cover band, Hello Newman, afterward. I knew I was in for a long but great day.

The first hurdle anytime one goes to Portland is figuring out parking. Here's the thing, ya girl is useless when it comes to parallel parking. I've done it maybe twice since getting my license. I have a small car and a back-up camera so, in theory, it should be a breeze, but I just can't convince myself to do it especially on narrow, busy downtown Portland roads. My go-to parking lot was unfortunately full but I found a parking garage nearby. There was an attendant there and as she approached my window I asked how much and she said, "$20 through 11:30." Disappointed I thanked her but knew I wouldn't be leaving until nearly 1 am. I put my vehicle in reverse to leave and she said, "No, no you can still leave after that." Confused I just assumed she meant that maybe I couldn't be coming and going after that hour or something. I even went on to comment how the garage at the Cross Insurance Center shuts down at midnight so I was hoping to avoid that since who wants to get stuck?! I paid my $20 and in I went.

Fast forward to about 12:45 am on Sunday morning. I walk to the garage excited to get home and into the shower. As I approach the parking garage my heart sinks. THERE'S A GATE BLOCKING THE ENTRANCE/EXIT. I think, "There must be another exit. That lady said I'd be okay." I investigate and nothing. Just endless concrete and metal.

There's a sign about the garage closing at 11:30 and I was furious that I was talked into parking there against my better judgment. I had literally put my car in reverse and was stopped. UGH! There was a sign with information to contact someone for assistance. I figured I'd have to pay a fee to get my car out but I didn't care. It was the middle of the night and I just wanted to hit the road. I called and spoke to a man who sounded like he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. He said he'd see what he could do and hung up. I had very little faith.

While on that call a woman in her 20's walked up to the garage and asked what I found out because her car was in there too. I'll call her Amber. Amber said had been working an event on a local island and was told someone would be at the garage to help her out.

We waited for something. What, I'm not sure exactly. Maybe the gate to remotely open, someone to show up? Anything. Amber then called the same number I did after about 10 minutes had passed, she got the same clueless guy who apparently told her that there was nothing he could do.

The only thing that kept me from panicking was the big hole in the gate. At the very least I knew I could go in and sit in my car and be safe while I waited for someone to pick me up knowing it would take over an hour to be "rescued". I was mostly upset that I would have to bother someone, likely my father or brother, in the middle of the night, to make the drive to pick me up. Then I'd have to get up early to get my car before heading to New Hampshire for my plans for the next day. What. A. Pain.

Amber slipped in through the hole to see if she could find a way out from the inside. To the side of the gate, she discovered what she described as some key/keypad thing. I dismissed her discovery. Of course, there would be a code/key needed.

But then something miraculous happened.

She pushed a button AND THE GATE OPENED.

Stunned, I thanked her for being my hero and I booked it to my car in case the gate closed or something. Or the police showed up. Was this considered trespassing at this point? Breaking and entering? I had no idea. I just wanted out. I wanted to go home. As I was leaving she had gotten her car out (she was parked closer to the exit) and getting ready to close the garage back up.

I left feeling so grateful. I had a near-perfect day until that fiasco and it could have been so much worse. I don't know if I would have thought to attempt to open the gate myself. I never learned Amber's real name but she was my hero.

So a lesson for anyone hoping to park in Portland late at night; be sure you know when the garage is closing or park somewhere that it won't matter.

Part 2 is how I nearly got stuck in Hampton, New Hampshire the next day. Check out that story HERE.

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