Ever forgot where you parked?

Have you?

Say you went into a shopping mall but forgot what entrance?

Or been at a ball game and forgot which area you parked?

My worse story, I was flying out of the airport, it was at night, I was in a hurry, and forgot where I parked. Coming home they dropped me off and while I knew I was in the general area, I couldnt find the car. You see I was driving a small red Honda and you know, in the dark lots of cars start looking alike. So I was walking up and down rows trying to find my car. Took almost 2 hours.

Yes. I think it happens to many people who are either parking in a lot they aren’t familiar with or in my case, not paying attention when we park and become disoriented hours later. Now when I park I take a mental snapshot of where I am and walk backwards towards the building so I can see what my car will look like when I am walking toward it. I still have a problem every once in a while, but I have never spent 2 hours searching for my car. I have an alarm button on my key that helps me locate my car if I’m sort of close to it.

All the damn time. I have directional dyslexia and I frequently forget where I parked. Dolphinboy, I’ll try your trick!

It has happened to me, but it’s generally not a big deal. Once however I arrived in a mad scramble at the airport and when I returned a week later I completely and utterly had no idea where my car was.

I think it took me well over an hour to find it. I was about to walk back to security and see if they could drive me around.

I heard that some people are in the habit of taking an actual snapshot of the parking spot with their phone, preferably that includes the parking level/row/slot designation.

Mine goes back a long way, 1980, and involves alcohol.

When I was 26, I traveled from Baltimore to Columbus, Ohio for a business trip. My counterpart in the Columbus office was my age, single like me, and wanted to show me a good time. After work, we took my rental car (this is a crucial detail) and drove to the Ohio State University area to go bar-hopping on High Street.

We went to a lot of bars, drank too much, got thrown out of the last bar we went to for being charming, and then wandered the streets for a while eating gyros. When we finally decided it was time to leave the area, we not only didn’t remember where we had parked, we couldn’t remember what the car looked like, not even the color. All we knew was what the key told us, which was that it was a Toyota.

I think we were actually sober by the time we found the car.

I’ve had some minor bobbles here and there, but was just a row or three off, not terrible.

The Mrs. forgot where she parked once at the airport. We’d arrived separately at the airport, me by cab and her by car, and met at check in. On our return, she couldn’t locate the car in the multi-level structure.

Fortunately it was late, and we could hear our car honk off in the distance when the remote was used to trigger the horn. It was one level lower than we were on.

My adventure in Columbus would have been far simpler if I had had a fob with a panic button.

I do this when I park at the airport (which is rarely - I usually do long term parking at a transit station with a fairly small lot and ride the train to the airport). But taking a snapshot makes a huge difference for me in terms of finding my car. Before cameras on phones were a thing, I’d write the location info on the parking ticket, which then went into my wallet until I got back.

I lost my truck at the Galleria mall the has multiple level garage parking. I couldn’t even remember what level I was on.

Now, whenever I park in a stadium or a garage I take a picture of the parking designation signs.

I couldn’t find my dark blue Toyota Corolla in a parking lot, but I was somewhat reassured when I did eventually locate it. It was parked second from the end in a row of five dark blue Toyota Corollas.

In a large parking structure I have to make special mental note of the level and row and how far from the end. If I have to leave the car there overnight or longer, I write it down.

When I interviewed for the job I now have, I parked in the lot early in the morning before everyone got in, and the lot was almost empty. When I got done, the lot was almost full, and I spent nearly five minutes walking up and down rows to try to find my car.

Fortunately my car now has the lights flash when I unlock it from the key fob, which gives a reassuring “Over here, Shodan” when we are parted.

I can’t navigate for shit, either - no spatial memory at all.


This was in the mid-80’s. I was doing a long-term project in another city – had an apartment and a leased car. I had parked at the airport on a Friday afternoon, thinking I was coming back in a few days. Instead, it worked out to be a few weeks later. I totally forgot where I had parked – knew the lot, thankfully, but not the location.

After some time wandering around, toting my luggage and wearing high heels, I noticed some boys who were playing around, mostly grabbing luggage carts left by cars and returning them for the quarter deposit. I paid them $5 to find my car.

Another story – in Illinois we have these oases that span over the tollroad. Traffic in either direction can get off the road, park, and visit the restaurants, shops and restrooms. My SIL stopped once on her way to Michigan to get a cup of coffee. When she came out, her car was gone. After looking for it for some time, she called my brother. He told her to call the police and hopped into his car to go pick her up.

Most of an hour later, he pulled into the lot … and parked next to her car. She’d gotten turned around and was looking in the lot for the northbound traffic, on the east side of the oasis, instead of the lot for southbound traffic on the west side of the oasis.

The police reported that this was a fairly common occurrence.

When parking at the airport, I’d text the parking structure, level, section and row to my wife. That way, it was all in my phone for me to reference upon my return, AND if my plane went down in a fiery explosion, she would know where to get the car.

I was downtown Baltimore in 1976 to see the tall ships and other events for the bicentennial. When I went back to the car, the space I parked in was empty. I knew exactly where I parked, and it was no longer there.

I went to a police officer to report my car as stolen, and he said, “Did you check the identical parking lot one block over?” Sure enough, that lot looked just the same and my car was just where it was supposed to be.

Went to a mall in El Paso. Noted that it was Dillards that I entered. When it came time to leave, went through Dillards, only to find not only no car, but the whole world had changed. No hills where there used to be hills. My first thought was I went through a time warp to a time when the mountains eroded, then I remembered it was the TV department I had entered so I went back in and asked where that was. Turns out there were temporarily two Dillards, and the one I wanted was on the opposite end of the mall.

Worst experience ever: years ago I flew into Chicago, rented a car, drove to a hospital and parked in the huuuge parking structure. The next day, I came out to find my car but had no idea where I had parked and no idea what kind of car I was looking for (the make & model was listed on the key ring, but I wasn’t familiar with it, all I remembered was that it was white). So I had to walk systematically through the entire parking structure clicking the unlock button until I found the car. :smack:

My brother reported his car stolen - turned out he forgot he’d parked it at a friend’s house; took a few days.

I’m good about remembering what section I park in, but even knowing that it took me about 30 minutes to find my car at an outlet mall near Chicago once - the sections were so huge as to be almost meaningless.

I once forgot where I parked my car at the El Paso airport. Spent about 30 minutes walking up and down the rows of cars. Then one of the parking lot shuttle bus drivers, who noticed that I was looking, stopped and asked for the license plate number. A quick radio call to his office and a minute later he drove me right to my car. Turns out they take an inventory of the parking lot every day, including plate number and location. Lesson learned, next time I forget I’ll simply ask the parking lot attendant.

Entering every number manually? Sounds pretty tedious!

Probably using an optical plate reader and GPS, but I don’t know for sure. I imagine that it is useful for the times a driver loses his ticket or tries to claim he was parked there for less time than he actually was. And I don’t doubt that law enforcement hasn’t used it a time or two to find a vehicle.