Craigslist saves the day after Syracuse teen loses car after Metallica concert in Toronto
Published Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:50AM EDT Last Updated Friday, July 21, 2017 7:59AM EDT
A Syracuse, N.Y. who’s been trying to remember where he parked since he left a Metallica concert in Toronto on Sunday has been reunited with his vehicle.
Gavin Strickland may have done a bit too much headbanging at Sunday’s Metallica concert because when he left the venue – he couldn’t remember where he parked his car.
The teen drove to Toronto by himself last weekend for the sold-out show and parked his car in an indoor parking garage for safekeeping.
At just an $8 cab ride away from the Rogers Centre, Gavin chose the perfect spot.
Once James Hetfield strummed his last tune, 19-year-old Gavin started the trek out of the stadium only to realize he couldn’t remember where exactly that parking garage was.
His parents, Eric and Michele Strickland, who found out about their son’s predicament during an awkward phone call from him Monday morning, decided to turn to Craigslist for help.
“Our doofy son parked the car in an indoor parking garage, in the first floor (slightly lower/basement level) but that garage cannot now be located,” a portion of the ad reads.
“Please respond with photos of the car and specific location instructions to claim the reward.”
Apparently, all Gavin could remember was that the garage was “near a Starbucks,” “a strange spiral outdoor sculpture,” a bank and a construction site.
Eric Strickland said his son now knows that in Toronto, that location could be anywhere.
“It’s on every corner, as I’ve found out,” he told CP24 with a laugh.
The car, a blue-green Nissan Versa Sedan with Florida license plates and a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, seemed nowhere to be found.
“It was a tad uncomfortable,” Eric Strickland said of the phone call from his son about the car.
“He had spent the night walking around looking for the thing. He actually spent two full days walking around looking for it. He put a lot of miles on his shoes.”
Luckily, Craigslist users pulled through for the Strickland family.
A woman named Madison Riddolls found the car early Thursday morning in the TD Bank Tower on Wellington Street.
Riddolls said she saw a post about the missing vehicle on Facebook and decided to go on a hunt.
“I love puzzles, I love challenges and escape rooms, all that. I read a few clues about where it could be and it honestly excited me,” she told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.
“Wednesday night, my boyfriend and I took his car out and we went for a drive. We started with every Starbucks with a construction zone and a bank nearby.”
Riddolls acknowledged that the description is hazy for Torontonians who are so accustomed to construction zones and Starbucks spots, but said it was a tip about Wellington Street that led them to the prize.
“We came down here (to the parking garage) and I just as I started thinking this wasn’t going to happen, I turned a corner and there it was,” she said.
The family confirmed it was in fact Gavin’s car after Riddolls sent them a few photos.
His father calls the ordeal “one big oops.”
“It’s the first time he’s lost one. We bought him the car a year and a half ago. It’s his car, he uses it to get around to a couple jobs,” he said.
“He’s a good kid, he just really kind of screwed up going into a big city not knowing what to do.”
Strickland says he will send Madison the $100 reward but also asked her to pick a charity she liked, so he could match the money and donate in her name.
“He’s famous now!” his dad laughed.
Gavin, meanwhile, is on a Greyhound bus from Syracuse to Toronto, en route to pick up that car.
Speaking to CP24 via phone, Gavin admitted that maneuvering through Toronto is “overwhelming,” but said he was given the wrong address to the garage in the first place.
“When I got out of my car, I asked someone what my address was right now, after I parked, and he gave me the wrong address,” he said.
“He even gave me the wrong street.”
Gavin said he eventually figured the car had been stolen but held off telling his parents until Monday in hopes he could find the car himself.
He said two helpful Toronto police officers helped him look for the car for several hours to no avail.
“I knew I was in hot water by losing the car,” he said. “They were pretty upset. They eventually put the ad on Craigslist and sure they called me a ‘doofy son,’ but that’s just the way my parents are. They just joke around.”
His parents must have a durable sense of humour, because this isn’t the first time Strickland has encountered car troubles.
At another rock concert somewhere in the U.S., Gavin said he accidentally dropped his keys near the car before heading into the show. When he returned a few hours later, the car was gone.
In another stroke of luck, the car was later found two blocks away, after someone took it for a joy ride.
The happy teen finally made it back to his car Thursday night after sitting on a bus from Syracuse all day long.
He was greeted at the greyhound terminal by Riddolls, who handed him a map showing him where the car was.
Smiling from ear to ear, Strickland said he’s grateful to those who went the extra mile to help him.
“I want to say a huge thank you to police here because they took the steps forward to help me find my car to the best of their ability, filled out a report and actually looked out for me,” Strickland said.
Still, he said he’s not sure how soon he’ll be returning to the city on account of the reputation he’s earned here so far.