By Joe McFarlane
One determined Café owner refused to allow a man who had parked on the premises for free to escape without paying in a dramatic encounter, splitting the Internet’s opinion in the process.
As general manager of the Charleville Lodge and White Moose Café in Dublin, Paul Stenson, 39, has a lot of his plate, but on February 28, the diligent worker’s time was devoted to thwarting one rogue car-parker.
Recording the ordeal himself, Paul explained how one man had used the premise’s car park without paying from 7.30am to 5pm, five days straight, despite not even being a guest of the lodge.
Deciding to put a stop to the man’s freeloading, Paul politely put a letter on the windscreen of his car, requesting that the man head to reception in order to pay what was due.
Ignoring the letter, the man entered his car and proceeded to try and leave the property scott-free. But wise Paul, suspecting the man would refuse to pay, had a back-up plan, and by using his Range Rover in order to block the exit, the man’s escape route was cut off.
Paul said: “I could have clamped him, but that wouldn’t have been the best way of resolving the issue. I wanted to resolve it amicably by simply leaving the letter.”
Heading back inside the man still refused to pay the amount owed and even tried to quietly slip out when a guest of the lodge was leaving, however Paul thwarted all the man’s attempts and he eventually coughed up the fee.
Paul said: “The man was not a guest. He was a member of the public who thought he’d get away with parking in our car park for free. We have multiple signs stating that our car park is for residents only.
The man always wore a mask each morning when leaving his car so our CCTV would not be able to identify him.
“When I realised he had been parking every single day for over a week I got annoyed. We have never had anyone try to park with us for over a week without paying.
“He paid in the end, but he would have driven away unless I had been there to block him in.
He lied to us at reception, saying he had only been parking for two days, when we clearly saw on the CCTV that he was there for over a week.”
Though he won in the end, surprisingly to Paul, the internet’s reaction has been somewhat mixed. As while many people have supported his actions, lots of people have been on the rogue cark-parkers side of the argument.
Paul said: “Some people have said that all the windows in my business will be broken. Others have threatened to pour paint stripper across my jeep.
“It’s quite worrying that there are so many people supporting the actions of a freeloader like that.”