Being a resident of Islamorada, I take great pride in my community and love life here. It is difficult to explain the local mentality to someone that doesn’t live here. I believe we always take care of our own.
I am a small business owner and vendor at the Rain Barrel. We all know Betsy the big lobster. Every year the Rotary Club does a wonderful job of putting together the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market. The traffic is a nightmare and an inconvenience to us all, but since it is only once a year and for a great cause we all accept it.
Over the past five to six years it has become so successful that parking is a tremendous problem and it interrupts any and all local business 10 miles each way. All the vendors and artists of the Rain Barrel pool their money together to hire parking attendants to keep our lot open for our customers to ensure that we have parking. Otherwise we are shut down for the entire weekend despite the huge signs that say “No Event Parking Rain Barrel customers only.”
Saturday morning was very hectic and challenging with everyone eager to attend the event. We positioned two people out front at 7 a.m. to monitor the traffic. A local man in a white pickup truck with his family and two children decided to park on our property. When my female attendant asked him nicely to not park there he became very rude and assertive, debating if that was even our property or belonged to the Department of Transportation.
Again he was asked to please move his vehicle. We explained we have 15 to 20 artists here trying to make a living, many of them working seven days a week to put food on the table and pay their bills and if we didn’t have room for our customers to park, it would shut us down. Again, he became very rude and assertive and said, “Do you know who I am?” and when my girl said “no, I’m just trying to do my job sir,” his response was, “You don’t want to mess with me, I’ll park where I want.”
Well, sir. I’m disappointed in you. You bullied a girl making $10 and hour just trying to do what she was told. You proceeded to throw around the name of one of the owners thinking that it would give you clout and intimidate the parking attendant. You have no regard at all for the small business owners that needed parking for their customers for the simple and selfish reason that it was inconvenient for you to park in the designated area for the Founders Park event.
You should be ashamed of yourself. And the worst part of it was you behaved this way in front of your children. Fine example. The day will come when one of them will decide to not follow the rules or take into consideration their fellow person and perhaps they’ll say, “Do you know who my daddy is?”
So my final words to Mr. Do You Know Who I Am: No I don’t. But you know who you are. Thank you for keeping the tradition of taking care of the locals.
Katie Bajrak, Islamorada