The parking guy
Shorty takes control
07/21/2012 11:45 AM
He stands about five-foot-nothing. Short of stature, perhaps, but he commands respect from drivers searching for a parking place at Fulton Market and Halsted on Saturday mornings.
His name—probably no surprise here—is Shorty.
Shorty is a part-time employee of L. Isaacson And Stein Fish Company. The key job responsibility is to keep the traffic flowing and direct wayward drivers into the very few parking places available. He wears a yellow vest and wields a walking stick, pointing out open spots to drivers, like a low-tech air traffic controller.
“I work for Isaacson, but what with the donut joint (Glazed and Infused) and Publican (Quality Meats), I really am helping out all the businesses along Fulton,” he said.
The job doesn’t look particularly easy. Shorty must have the patience of Job dealing with suburban foodies just off I-90, who are either impatient or just confused about where to park.
“Some people are nice, some are rambunctious,” he said. “But, I’m a people person, so it’s good.”
A middle-aged gent carrying his seafood purchase walked across Fulton from Isaacson and smiled at Shorty.
“Papa!” Shorty greeted him. (He generally calls everybody “Papa” or “Mama.”)
“Did you give me an oil change?” the fish-purchaser asked. Clearly an Isaacson regular.
Shorty played along, replying “I did, and I moved your car to a better spot.” He then spotted a woman walking out of Public Quality Meats, carrying baguettes.
“Mama!” he called out to her. “I’ll see you next week!”