Thank God it was my rental car.
It happened at the Primm Valley Outlet Mall, about 45 minutes north of Las Vegas.
You know how malls have several entrances that look similar? That messed me up. I parked in a convenient spot next to an entrance where a guy had flag barriers up and was painting the exterior.
After spending an hour inside, I went back out to find my car. Nowhere to be seen. Damn, did someone swipe the car? Did I even lock it? Rental car, y’know, so I wasn’t sure.
I walked around for 20 minutes searching. I was sure I was near the right entrance because I saw “Wet Paint” signs on the wall. Made another round of the area, then gave up and went inside to sit down because my aging legs and back were aching.
I called the police and they told me to check with mall security. So I called security and the nice guy said to come to the office, just about 100 feet from where I was.
When I got there, he directed me back outside to a security car and a nice mall security officer who drove me around for 15 minutes looking for my car (“just to make sure”). Then, he decided to try around the entrance I’d come out of to join him.
And … there it was. I simultaneously felt overjoyed and stupid. He refused a tip, saying it happened all the time.
All the way back on the long drive into Las Vegas, all I could do was shake my head and mumble: “Craig, you’re so stupid. So stupid.”
I kid you not.