We’ve all been there.

You’re leaving Target with hands full of supplies (#prop67) and suddenly realize… you have absolutely no idea where you parked. Like, literally, no idea.

Was it the far right side? Far left? Or the one time you randomly decided to park around the side corner?

One particularly dark evening last spring, I stepped into the Target parking lot only to realize it wasn’t even my white Subaru (Sallie) that I was looking for, but my mom’s navy blue one. This was because Sallie was having health problems and, until I could afford to pay for them, she got parked at my parents’ house after I snagged Mom’s old beater. So, it was late, dark, and I was looking for an unfamiliar navy blue car.

There it is!

After wandering the aisles enough times to please my Fitbit, I finally found it. Nestled in the shadow of an F250 sat that happy little Subaru. Unlocking the car door, I slid inside and tossed my assorted items onto the passenger’s seat.

Which was cluttered with all kinds of stuff I didn’t recognize. 

I froze.

Glancing down at the floor, I saw another cluttered pile of papers and empty food wrappers.

Oh… no…

Suddenly, I got struck by the awful sensation that I was sitting in someone else’s car. But how did my key let me in? Do all Subarus have the same lock? That’s not possible, right?

Stop analyzing this, Bailey, I thought, and get out of the freaking car. 

I yanked the door handle.

It snapped right off.

No, I’m not lying.

In full panic mode now, my only goal was to get out of that locked car and into my own. What if the owner comes back before I can get out, I thought, unbuckling myself from the seat belt. You can get arrested for breaking into someone’s car… let alone breaking someone’s car! Between scooping up my groceries and peering out the windows for cops, I decided there was only one option — crawl across the seat and out the passenger door. Dragging my legs across lord knows what, I pushed open the door (which opened!) and peeled myself out of the contraption.

Hit and run, people.

There’s no other way to say it.

I’m pleased to report that Sallie is now fully functional and a lot easier to spot in shadowy lots than the car I almost stole. I don’t know what happened to that poor owner, but the thought of him sliding in and out of the side door gives me a good laugh now and then.

.          .          .

Bailey-12  Bailey Gillespie works as adjunct faculty and Director of Academic Engagement at William Jessup University. She lives near Sacramento, California and loves connecting with people over health, creativity, and faith. Recently, her writing has appeared on Real Hope RisingVoice of Courage, and The Rabbit Room. Read more at baileygillespie.com or follow her on Instagram and Goodreads.