A Free Parking Lot in Downtown Vancouver

Even though I practice hypnoTHERAPY, occasionally I get a phone call from someone who needs some other interesting services.

A man called me one early morning. He wanted to book an appointment as soon as possible, meaning, “Now!? Please!? How soon can you see me? I can get to your place within 20 to 30 minutes if you’d like.”

I replied, hoping there was no panic sound in my voice, “No, I would not like it.” I checked my calendar and decided that I could see him in two hours. “What’s the hurry?” I asked, curious what case I was dealing with here.  

“I want to find out where I parked my car… It’s a long story… My friend said I could call a hypnotherapist to help me so I googled… I need help. I don’t remember where I parked the damn car…”

He spoke fast, and I was trying very hard to process, or to make sense as I listened. I asked him a few more questions to slow him down. And the whole picture finally came to me: This man wanted to find out, or to remember, where he parked his rental car in downtown Vancouver two nights ago.

It was his first day in Vancouver. He had flown in from Calgary in the morning, checked into his hotel room in Burnaby in the afternoon, picked up his rental car, and drove to downtown Vancouver in the evening. It was his very first trip to Vancouver. He came to meet someone – A business meeting, he told me on the phone. Later, when he felt more comfortable with me, he said it was actually a date. Google map helped him get into downtown. After he saw he was close enough on the map, he parked the car in a covered parking lot, and used the same Google map to walk him to the meeting place, a restaurant.

A few hours and a few drinks later, for the life of him, he couldn’t find where he parked his car. After searching around on foot for a couple of hours, he gave up, and took a cab back to his hotel.

The next day, he thought daylight could help him locate the parking lot better. He went back to downtown Vancouver, first walked, and then hired a cab to drive him around and around. Neither he nor the cab driver could find the mysterious parking place or his car. “That was the only time I wished my car were towed.” He said dry humorously on the phone, “Yesterday and this morning, I kept calling the towing company every hour, but oddly enough, the car was not towed. I mean, how can you park in a downtown parking lot for free for over 24 hours?”

A friend in Calgary suggested that he see a hypnotherapist for memory recall.

So, I became his last resort. The poor man’s trip was becoming very costly. He asked for a guarantee from me. I told him I understood his situation and could guarantee that I would do my best to help, but what I couldn’t guarantee was his own mind. “It is your mind that I have to work with,” I told him, “Subconscious memory recall is like tracing a footprint. There must be a print first for this to work.” I felt the challenge in this situation – He had never been to Vancouver before. It was nighttime. His mind was preoccupied when he was driving. But also, I felt a genuine curiosity in me and a sincere desire to help – I mean, what else could he do?

Now he seemed to be so desperate. I told him that I was going to take $80 off the service, “Because,” I told him, “I am intrigued by this myself now.”

He showed up on time, eager to get right into the process, despite an old concern that associated being hypnotized with mind control. I also realized, being new to the city, he wouldn’t be able to tell me street names such as Dunsmuir, Howe, Robson, Seymour, West Pender…. Even though in regression, he would be able to recall he turned left, and saw that sign, and then right…. Spatial thinking is not my strong suit. From a map to a real location I normally lose myself in translation. Even if he could tell me those street names, I’d still be quite easily confused. All I had was regression skills, and all he had were unconscious memories of how he followed the Google map. Two confused people could unlikely lead each other to the desired destination.

We needed someone else to put it all together.

My partner Tim came to my mind. The whole streets in Vancouver downtown are on his mind map. I often thought he could make himself a decent cab driver. And he has this spy-like detective mind too (If you don’t believe me, read Chapter 14 in Carol’s LivesA Spy in the Sky”).

So, I said to my anxious new client, “I’ve never done this before, but I’m going to suggest that I have my partner Tim sitting in this session, because…”

“Whatever it takes to find my car.” He didn’t let me finish.

I could almost assume that Tim would love the opportunity. Challenging this task might sound to everyone, but it suited Tim’s inquisitive mind.

Tim came into my office with a pen and a pad of paper in his hands.

I used hypnotic confusion induction to get this man’s conscious mind out of the way, so his unconscious memories could surface….

As they surfaced, very soon this young man found himself driving downtown. He described the traffic, the weather, his mood… Vividly he was reliving the moments. Only this time, my voice was with him every turn of the way….

As a regressionist, my job was to ask the right question at the right time. The Calgary man’s job was to answer my questions as the first thing that came to his mind. Tim started to draw a map on his paper…. The session went on for two hours, and the man went deep…

I finally brought the Calgary man out of the trance. Tim showed him his drawing map, and suggested a few highlighted areas to investigate… I looked at them, with a little more clarity but still uncertainty about where exactly he could find the car, or whether he could, based on Tim’s map. I knew I had given him my best shot, as I “guaranteed” him.

Still intrigued, I decided to volunteer Tim to go with him on his next search, with the drawing map in his hand. Tim had been involved this far, and his curiosity was piqued, so he agreed.

Carrying on my other appointments for the rest of the day, I didn’t have too much time to think about it. I could only imagine the best-case scenario: a text message from Tim saying, “We found it.”

It took them an hour. A text message buzzed in, from Tim. It read, “We found it.”

When I met Tim later that day, he showed me 80 dollars, and said it was a thank-you gesture from that Calgary man.

“Unbelievable,” Tim exclaimed, “Two days and two nights in that parking lot, with only paying for a couple of hours, the car was still there, no parking ticket!”

I think we have found a secret free parking place in downtown Vancouver.

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