Tripta Kaushal is Guilty of “Worst Parking Job Ever”

Last October, a Canadian Auntie from Richmond Hill– a town in the Greater Toronto Area– decided to go to the gym. She entered a parking lot, attempted to park her BMW SAV (no, that’s not a typo)…and gained international infamy for what happened next:

If you’re having trouble viewing that video, all you need to know is that it shows a blue truck in a parking lot driving in a wide arc towards a space. As the vehicle approaches the barrier which exists to keep cars in their designated parking spaces, you assume it will stop, but it doesn’t. It smoothly continues over the little concrete bump and on to the hoods of the two vehicles which face it. What’s startling and notable is the ease with which this happens. It’s not labored, at all. The surveillance video makes it seem like trampling the roof and hood of other vehicles is effortless and that all cars should come to rest on top of crumpled metal.

There is a momentary pause after that unintentional off-roading and then we see the BMW reverse carefully, back to where it should have parked. After five seconds, the driver slowly backs away from the space and the scene of her crime, and exits the parking lot. That isn’t just a hit-and-run; it’s a flatten-and-roll.

It’s amazing to behold.

So is the next part of this smashing news story, which occurred almost a week after the monster mash:

An owner of one of the vehicles was an employee at the health club…Todd Jamison, peered out of the health club windows and saw the very same vehicle he had had been watching over and over again on the surveillance video.

It was the culprit!

Soon the authorities were called and Tripta Kaushal gave up the chase. [AOL Autos]

That was last year. Kaushal was a headline-maker again this week, when she was sentenced:

She appeared before Justice Simon C. Armstrong in a Newmarket courtroom Tuesday with her guilty plea. She was given a $500 fine and ordered to pay restitution to the two victims whose vehicles were damaged. She was also given six months probation and a driving prohibition between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. [Globe and Mail]

The gym employee whose car was destroyed made news, too:

One victim in the YouTube hit “Worst Parking Job Ever!” found a brand-new car in his parking space Friday.

Todd Jamison planned to take the day off to shop for a used vehicle a week after a driver trashed his 2004 Hyundai Elantra, which he had just finished paying off.

But when colleagues called him into the office on a pretense, he found a shiny 2010 Hyundai Elantra in the lot along with a smiling Hyundai representative. [The Star]

That’s really sweet of Hyundai. And savvy, too. There’s nothing better than excellent, favorable free publicity. I’m not all-cynical, though. I’m happy for the fellow. I can’t imagine how livid and frustrated I’d be, if the car I had just paid off was destroyed.

And as easy as it might be to point at this woman and declare, “Haha!” like Nelson, I actually feel bad for her. And I’m not typing that because I’m Desi, I’m typing it because I’m human. I was slightly amused by Kaushal’s tale until I remembered that two years ago, a similarly-aged family member (also in a BMW!) tried to park in a friend’s driveway but depressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal and collided with the home she was trying to visit.

She was terrified, shaken and utterly mortified at the significant damage she caused to the front of a home; at least no one was hurt. She traded in her SUV for a compact car and rarely drives her downsized-vehicle, because she doesn’t trust herself anymore. The loss of independence and confidence is brutal. So while millions make jokes about how it was so easy to guess the gender of the “perp” and how this is just another foreigner driving amok and destroying property, I wonder if Mrs. Kaushal is okay. I wouldn’t want to be judged by my worst moments, I’m fairly certain she feels the same way. I hope she is able to “move” on safely and feel peace.

28 thoughts on “Tripta Kaushal is Guilty of “Worst Parking Job Ever”

  1. Einstein never learned to drive. That’s my latest excuse for not driving. Also the fact that I can buy only things I can carry, which makes sure that I consume just bare essentials. Plus, dragging 10 kilos of rice home in a backpack counts as a serious workout. i also don’t go for an ice cream as soon as I feel like having one.

    Cars are evil.

  2. I can’t feel bad for anyone driving a BMW. Pure hilarity then and now- we all play the fool now and then.

  3. Anna, I’d like to add emphasis to your last paragraph. I think many of us second generation desis with parents who have been here since the late 60s/early 70s (who have driven here for decades and are used to the independence) should be prepared for scenes similar to this (maybe not quite so dramatic). As ANY driver enters old age their reaction times, multitasking abilities, and eyesight begin to diminish. What makes it especially worrisome for the desi community is how dependent many of our parents are on automobiles in order to socialize with their friends and family. Desi communities are quite dispersed given our overall small numbers and non-public transportation is required for socializing. Many of us might find ourselves in the unfortunate position of eventually having to curtail the independence of our parents for their own safety, as well as that of other drivers. The loss of independence and confidence will be brutal indeed.

  4. I do not see how you can have any sympathy for her.

    When she ran over the two cars, it was an accident. If it stopped there, then sure, one should be sympathetic. When she tried to get away with it, it became a crime.

    She had days to think about it and come forward, but did not. That is not bad judgement, that is no morals.

    I can understand a lack of driving skills. I cannot understand a lack of conscience.

  5. This happened to me, I depressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal and kissed the trunk of an Oak Tree in front of my parking spot at work. No damage to the tree, or externally to my car. I came home and nervously told my father what happened, he took it to the shop, just to check it out and there was costly damage to the frame underneath my toyota :( .

    I do agree with Murali, she should have come forward on her own.

  6. There are two aspects here that strike me which may escape others -

    I remember a time when surveillance cameras didn’t exist! It is amazing how everybody now takes this aspect for granted. And any random surveillance tape can now be uploaded to youtube, no problem. I remember a time when video cameras themselves were new and not everybody had them!

    I also remember a time when cars were rear wheel drive and most people drove sedans. Now even ‘aunties’ drive 4WD and FWD SUVs – not that there is any special category of people for whom its totally OK to drive SUVs! I hate to suggest that older, or even younger desi, or non desi women (and, for that matter, many men) may find it more difficult to handle huge SUVs trucks – which have huge power in the front wheels – but it is a thought that needs to be examined. Can you imagine what might have happened if someone was actually in the cars that got driven over? What if a family was coming in or out of their cars in the opposite spot?

    At some point in the last decade, owning a car, a normal sedan, leave alone a compact or subcompact – just became infra dig for most people. And sorry, I don’t buy the idea that people have to have SUVs so that they can socialize. Canada has a problem with snow and ice, as do many parts of the US – still, it is too much power to give to people in such cars. People got around fine when SUVs didn’t exist, hard as it is now for many to imagine that.

  7. My dad lost his driving privileges after mistaking the accelerator for the brake in a mall parking lot. He hit other cars & a pedestrian. Even after the discovery process related to the huge lawsuit, I still wondered how this could possibly happen.

    Just a few months after the suit settled, I did the same exact thing while chaffeuring my parents around on a visit. Fortunately for me, I only damaged some shrubbery, my own car and one other occupant-less van parked across from me. I still can’t adequately explain how that happened.

    So I don’t give this auntie the side eye for her parking mishap, but I do give her the side eye for leaving the scene.

  8. This happened in Richmond Hill, you aint seen nothing yet. That place is majority azns I think. and y’all know what the stereotype is about those azns eh?

  9. Indians need to stick to Toyota’s…at least then they can blame it on the accelerator defect.

    ba-dum tish

    Seriously, I have sympathy for anyone who makes a genuine mistake, life happens, and thankfully in this case, no one was hurt. As others have said however, while I understand how scared she must have been after her faux pas (to put it mildly), driving away was cowardly and irresponsible.

  10. The bad parking and driving aside, this post shows your characteristic empathy for people, which makes each of your post always a pleasure to read. Never the condescending tone even while making fun.. a rare quality.

  11. Us desis can drive anywhere! After years of maneuvering our way through the Bombay or Karachi traffic and dealing with over zealous drivers who are always in a hurry to arrive somewhere late and in your face if you don’t move out of their way, we can pretty much drive with our eyes closed when driving in the USA. Haven’t you seen the desi cabbies in Chi town; there’re something else!

  12. Tripta Kaushal’s inner thoughts while parking:

    Dear Self,

    I’m now in my 12th year of marriage and Harprinder still hasn’t shaved his pubes. Wondering if I’m going to ever see past the amazon. You know what, you can take away my pride, take away my ability to see my husband’s penis, take away my ability to be humanly tolerable, but you will never take away the class that was my wedding invitation.

    -Tripta

  13. Her “worst moment” wasn’t running over those two cars. Her worst moment was driving away from her responsibility. Why so much sympathy for the kind of desi who gives the rest of us a bad name – again, not for her driving, but for her complete lack of social responsibility?

  14. I could not believe my eyes. They got such first class videos in Canada from surveillace tapes? It looked like a set up. More like America’s funniest home videos. Moral of the story: Never leave a scene of accident if you were a party without leaving a note or calling cops. That way it will work out cheaper in the long run!

  15. This lady is lucky to get away with a $500 fine and paying for repairs. I wou;d have fined her $2000 for escaping the scene.

  16. I am disappointed at the stereotype laden comments on Asians and women in general. But I must add my kudos to Anna for having written this blog in a nice non-condescending manner. I appreciate your use of language Anna. Thanks.

  17. Who hasn’t done something stupid in a car at one point or other? The only issue I have is leaving the scene of the crime. I’m sure she must have been scared and in a state of shock after it happened, but she did not report the accident.

  18. Define “stupid” because this is beyond stupid. Just look at the way she entered the lot. She is an awful driver who needs to take driving lessons. I am shcoked the judge didn’t revoke her license instead of a mere suspenson.

  19. I can’t find an online pic of this lady.

    This is so bourgeouise of her to (1) drive a BMW, (2) an SUV/SAV at that, and (3) to run away from the scene of a crime perpetrated against a proletariat.

  20. Thanks for writing this-very sweet, thoughtful and empathic. A lot of people go through this, particularly as they age and it’s humiliating and, like you said, human.