Katy Stevens circled the block once more, looking for parking. She wished now that she’d had her family’s chauffeur drop her off instead of insisting on driving her car from Manhattan to downtown New York City by herself.
At Christmas time. On a slushy day in early December. With everyone and their dog trying to do their Christmas shopping.
The high-rise’s parking garage was full, so she would have to find a spot at the curb. Her original thinking was that she didn’t want to give off the wrong impression by coming to this meeting in a chauffeured car. If billionaire Marcus James were to see her in a limo, surely he’d think her cause didn’t deserve a donation. Even if it was a wonderful cause. She realized now how silly her concern had been. He had a penthouse office. He wasn’t exactly watching the streets for his visitors.
She took a deep breath, and slowly, calm filled her. Her frown disappeared. How could she forget the true reason for the season?
Her parking problem was nothing—absolutely nothing—compared to the tragedy her friends were still grappling with back in Conchilla, Guatemala. They’d lost everything in an earthquake three months prior, and Katy was worried about parking?
“Thank you for helping me get here safely,” she prayed. “Please, Lord, I’m kind of in a bind. Help me find a spot.”
As Katy circled once again, a van pulled away from the curb ahead. She nearly squealed with delight until a black Ashton-Martin cut her off and slid into the empty place.
She wanted to cry. Indignant feelings rose within her. The driver of the offending vehicle came out of the driver’s side. She needed to give him a piece of her mind, if only to make herself feel better.
Scooting her car forward and lowering her passenger window alongside him, she said, “That was not gentlemanly, sir. You stole my spot.”
The man turned slowly, a frown marring his dark and devastatingly handsome features. In his impeccably tailored suit and with his beard, he looked like one of those Giorgio Armani models.
“Pardon me?” he said.
“You took my spot. I was just about to pull in when you forced me to slam on my brakes and—”
“I get the picture.”
“I have an important meeting. It’s life and death. You can probably find a spot easier than me since your car is so small.”
“Sorry. I have meetings too. Better luck next time.” He walked toward the building without a backward glance.
Katy blinked back tears as she raised her window. At the same time, she heard a tap on the glass of her driver’s side door. A cop stood with his arms crossed, staring at her.
She pressed the window button, letting the blaring traffic noise and car exhaust of a New York winter day into her car again.
“Hi, officer,” she said.
“You gotta move along, lady.”
“I’m trying.” She brightened. “Sir, could you please help me? I need a parking spot, or I’m going to be late and let down my friends in Guatemala.”
“Guatemala?” The cop scratched his head.
“Anyway,” Katy said, “maybe you could issue a parking ticket to someone and have them towed. I’m sure some people have overstayed their spot.” As soon as the words came out of her mouth, she regretted it. It was a mean, selfish thing to say.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m not the parking enforcer. Now, what seems to be the problem?”
Katy felt as though her sanity was hanging by a thread. She spoke clearly and from the heart. “I was supposed to be in a meeting up there in that building five—no, ten—minutes ago to make a presentation for a Christmas contest. I’m trying to get money for earthquake victims in Guatemala, but I can’t find parking.”
As they talked, a car pulled away from the curb. Katy would have gunned it, but another sedan cut her off.
“See?” she said, her voice breaking.
Understanding dawned on the cop’s face. “Well, ma’am, you’ve got to be more aggressive.”
“That’s fine, officer.” She slumped in resignation. “Maybe they need the parking more than I do. Thanks for listening. I’m going to move on.” She raised her window.
The cop walked forward and motioned for her to stop, just as a car ahead pulled out of a parking place. Katy watched it happen with a pang of sorrow, but then the cop gestured for her to take the spot.
“Me?” she mouthed.
He nodded. Another car wanted to cut in, but the cop put his hand up to stop them. Once again, he directed Katy to pull in.
After she’d successfully parked, Katy leaped out of the car, not caring that her ankle boots were getting drenched in the dirty slush.
“Thank you, Officer!” she said. “Bless you a hundred times and Merry Christmas!”
The cop grinned. “Merry Christmas to you too, little lady. Good luck!”