Her Tuesday Column ~ Lost in the State Fair Parking Lot

Written by Leslie Means

Written By:  Leslie Means

Whenever Kyle and I take a trip, he usually drives and I use the time to get lost in my surroundings.  I simply don’t pay attention to directions.  I don’t pay attention when I’m driving either.  Sometimes this gets me into trouble. 

OK.  It always gets me into trouble. 

Last week, I ventured to the state fair by myself for a work requirement.  I set out on the road that morning with a large cup of coffee and a full 45 minutes of classic Bon Jovi music and my own thoughts. 


It was glorious. 

By the time I arrived at the state fair, my mind was rolling in a million different directions.  I hopped out of my silver car – nicknamed Victor – and headed to my destination.  Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention to one minor detail; where I parked my car. 

I knew I parked in a gravel lot and that I was about 7 or 8 cars in.  Yes, that was good enough to find my way back.

It wasn’t.

5 hours later when I was ready to leave, I ran into a road block.  I couldn’t find my car.  At first, it was a pleasant search.  I sang along to the catchy Nebraska State Fair tune that was playing over the loud speakers, thinking it would only take a few moments until I ran into Victor.  But after I heard the Nebraska State Fair song repeat itself about 10 times, I knew I was lost. 

Really lost.

Suddenly, I was cursing that song under my breath wishing I could throw a rock at the speaker to make it stop.  I felt like a rat in a maze.  Every direction I turned seemed to make me more confused.  The temperature soared to over 100 degrees and I was wearing jeans.

On my journey, I passed a woman 2 or 3 times who also seemed lost.  As we crossed paths for the third time, I smiled and asked if she was lost, too.  Her response was in a different language, so I’m not certain if she was sympathizing with me or making fun.  Probably a little bit of both. 

I made a mental note to brush up on my Spanish. 

After I hit the 15 minute mark I decided to ask for help.  I went to one of the volunteers who had been watching me pace the parking lot and asked if she knew where traffic was routed earlier in the morning.

“Nope,” she said.  “You lost your car?  That sucks.” 

“Yes, I realize that.  Thanks.”  She wasn’t very pleasant.   

I began hitting the panic button on my car key, certain it would alert me to my location.  After a few minutes I heard an alarm go off.  My heart raced and then sunk once again when I realized the woman I had passed earlier was headed to the car that was beeping.

It was a low point.  I thought seriously about sitting down beside a car and just waiting for the afternoon traffic to clear out.

After 30 minutes of searching, I swallowed my pride – I didn’t have much left at this point, anyway – and called my brother-in-law for help. 

“You know you’ll never hear the end of this one,” he laughed.

He found me, wandering around in row J. 

“Ah!  The rows were marked with letters.  That would have been a good detail to notice,” I thought to myself. 

Once up in his truck, I realized there was a large paved lot hiding the gravel lot where I parked my car.   It only took a few minutes until I was reunited with Victor.

When I finally reached my vehicle, I was hot, tired and thoroughly embarrassed.

“I promise I’m not a ditz,” I exclaimed to my brother-in-law.  “I just didn’t pay attention.”

“You know there’s an app for that,” he laughed.  “You should have that on your phone.”

“Now you tell me,” I said in an annoyed tone.  “That would have been helpful to know before I got lost in a parking lot.” 

But deep down, I knew that wasn’t a true statement.  Even if I had the app I’m sure I would have passed over the instructions on how to use it.  Some details aren’t worth cluttering my mind. 

Read other stories from Leslie in the Kearney Hub. 

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Have you ever been lost in a parking lot?  Like, really -really lost!?  Please tell me yes! 

About the author

Leslie Means

Leslie is the co-founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well.

She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 8 and 6 and one little dude born March 2017!

When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.


  • Oh Leslie, I too am one of those people that do not pay any attention where I’m going or where I’ve been. I’m a little better if I’m by myself, but not much. I can tell you how many old barns was on my route to where I was going, but can not tell you where they were. I have lost my pickup in Walmart parking lot before. That is one place I try and remember what row I parked in, but then I can’t remember if it was row 7 this time or last time I was there. So you see, you are not alone. And sorry to say it does not get any better with age.

    • LOL – thanks. At least you’ve been there, too. And yes – I park in THE SAME spot at Walmart, every single time. I have to. Especially if I have my girls with me. The extra long walk is worth it when I know where my car is parked!!

  • I would have to say I think this happens more often than we think. My brother lost his car at the Denver Airport after he got back from a week being gone. He looked I think for like 2 hours and then finally called his wife who lived 25 minutes away. We give him a hard time about it every now and then. He lost the slip of paper he had for the long term parking.

  • Um yes. A LOT! Like, at least once a month. Usually the “panic” button thing works. I prefer to think that some of us have entirely too much other stuff on our minds that we can’t possibly remember all these minor details. If it makes you feel any better, the day I worked the State Fair, I ended up in the wrong building at first and then after work just followed a lady out to the vendor parking lot that had a rolling breif case. I figured/hope she was parked in that lot, too which was small enough to wonder for no longer than 10 minutes:) I’d imagine I made her nervous following so close. Perhaps I should’ve just fessed up I was pretty much lost lol

  • I have gone into a parking and thought where did I park my car before. You are not alone Leslie. 🙂

    One of the worst times I got lost was a few months after we moved to Omaha I got really lost downtown. It was before we had kids and I was going to meet my husband and some of his co-workers after they all got off work at a bar on 10th St. I couldn’t get over to take my exit off the interstate so decided I knew Omaha well enough to take a different way (this was before GPS was big).
    It was a bad idea as I found myself very very lost, in a sketchy neighborhood, at night, and then I was suddenly on a dark random bridge crossing into Iowa.
    I called my husband, panicked, who had no idea where I was or how to get me to the bar. Luckily a couple of his co-workers had always lived in Omaha, knew exactly where I was, and could direct me back into Nebraska and the bar. It took me a long time before I was brave enough to try a different way when heading anywhere I was unfamiliar with in Omaha. 😉

    • Kelly – I got lost in Houston, many – many times! Eventually – I learned to stay on the same path – work and target – that’s about the only two places I would drive. and yea – GPS wasn’t big yet then, either. Not that it would have mattered. 😉

  • This is so funny because the exact thing happened to me at the Fair this year too!! I had my husband walking all over the place before we finally found the car. When I parked, I took the mental energy to look for something that would help me and noticed an “exit” sign!! There you go, now I would have not trouble finding the car!!! First of all, you have to find the right gate and then……do you know how many “exit” signs there are???? Needless to say, we finally found it and got home without any further adu.
    I went twice and you can be sure the next time, I paid close attention to the gate and the letter posted on the row!! 🙂

  • Yes Leslie we forgot to check the row when we left our car at the state fair too! There were 5 of us and we were having a great time and got out of the car and headed to the gate. Later on we met another friend and she asked where we were parked. We looked at each other and had no idea! Luckily when it came time to leave we walked right to the car! That was on Wednesday and when I went back on Saturday I was sure to notice which row I was in. The challenge came when we tried to leave. They had roped off all the roads we had used to exit on Wednesday and we finally had to ask a volunteer how to get out of the parking lot!

  • I have lots of stories on this. We went to a Big & Rich concert the parking lot was not as big as the state fair. But how many 4×4 chevy pickups could there be at their concert. My sis pointed out a dodge, sigh I drive a chevy. As I muttered please no one honk their horn as I hit the panic button & twirled at the sound of the horn. I guess I talked louder than a mutter. The guys laughed as they drove by in their ford pickup. Once the parking cleared out we found it, but put a smile on many faces. One other time we parked on the 3rd floor of a parking garage near the river walk in San Antonio. Many garages that looked alike, take a photo of the nearest intersection along with the garage. We even stopped to ask a cop. Oh Boy, even wearing a Nebraska shirt.

    Loved the photo!