If you think the Parking Industry isn’t exciting…think again!
History of Parking
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If you think the Parking Industry isn’t exciting…think again!

A Northwest Airlines jetliner returned safely to Miami after it was hijacked from Milwaukee to Havana, Cuba, with 60 passengers aboard, by a man armed with a hatchet and claiming to have a bomb hidden in his briefcase“.

This is the opening line to an article published in the 1971 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel. One of those 60 passengers aboard the hijacked flight to Cuba was our very own president, Richard C. Rich. We’re back this month with another one of his once in a lifetime stories from his first 55-years at Rich & Associates. If you thought the Parking Industry wasn’t exciting…think again!

“The plane, a Boeing 727 landed in Miami after being in control of the hijacker for about 8 hours. Architect Richard C. Rich, 39, was on his way home to his suburban Detroit home from Nicaragua, where he is doing Architectural work, when he stopped in Milwaukee Thursday to visit his parents”…Here is what Richard C. Rich recalls from his unplanned and unexpected trip to Cuba!

“People may think it’s pretty boring doing parking garages but being in the industry has really afforded me some experiences that otherwise couldn’t be. One of the most exciting was a return trip from a project in Nicaragua.  I decided to stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit my parents on my way back to Detroit from Nicaragua. I spent the night in Milwaukee and my parents drove me to the airport the next morning. I got on the Northwest flight to Detroit, sat in the second row in first class and the plane took off.

Everything seemed normal until there was some kind of commotion coming from the back end of the plane. The next thing I knew there was a man standing at the doorway to the cockpit with a hatchet in one hand and a briefcase in the other, demanding to talk to the captain of the airplane. I think it was the flight attendant that got him on the intercom, told the man to be calm and that we had to land in Detroit to get refueled.’

Some of the people in first class with me left for the back of the airplane once the hijacker approached our section. Two or three of us remained in first class. I figured I paid for first class so I might as well stay there, since it wasn’t going to be any different in coach. But I seemed to be the best target sitting in the second row so I asked the hijacker if I could move a couple of rows back and he said ‘OK’.

When we landed in Detroit there was quite a bit of discussion on the plane. The captain parked the plane in a field far away from the terminal and I could see activity around the airplane from my window. The captain and one of the crew came back to talk to the hijacker when he said that he wanted to go to Algeria. They explained to him that we were on a Boeing 727 and that this plane didn’t have enough fuel, even with a refill, to get to Algeria. So they asked him if he had a second choice like Cuba, and he said ‘yes’. The plane was refueled and we left for Cuba. I don’t remember much discussion after that.

I usually carried a small camera on my business trips and I kept thinking ‘he appears to be accommodating enough to respond to us, I bet he would let me take his picture standing there with the hatchet and the briefcase’. But as chance would have it, my camera was packed away in my checked luggage.

When we landed in Havana, the Cuban authorities got on the airplane and the hijacker handed over the hatchet and briefcase. When they opened up the briefcase and handed it back to him, we all realized that there was no bomb. The Cuban authorities took the hijacker off of the airplane, and the next thing I knew we were ushered off of the airplane into immigration. We were questioned regarding our names, occupations, addresses, and a few other things. We were then ushered into a room that looked like it could’ve been a cafeteria. They were walking around selling some cigars and cigarettes, and we eventually had a meal. One of the flight attendants came over to my table and said ‘you better enjoy the meal, it’s going to be the most expensive meal you’ve ever had.’ She said that over in the corner there was somebody from the Swiss Embassy negotiating with the pilot for a ransom to be paid for the airplane to take off and I recall her saying it was going to cost something like $200,000.00!

After the meal, and I guess a successful negotiation, they put us back on the airplane and we took off for Miami. In Miami, we had to go through customs and immigration again. It was surprising to me that customs asked everyone who had purchased Cuban cigars to turn them over. Fortunately for me I didn’t smoke cigars so I didn’t waste any money. They asked all of the first-class passengers to come to a specific table. They called us by name and at that point I turned and went to a table where they had about 5 pictures spread out. They asked all of us from first class to identify the man from the pictures. I immediately recognized him and pointed to his picture. I was amazed how they had pictures of him so quickly. They then put us on another airplane to Detroit and there wasn’t much discussion during the flight. We finally landed in Detroit late or very early in the morning.”

 

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Its Fall Already!?
Not Parking
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Its Fall Already!?

The first day of Autumn is approaching us quickly as the first official day of the Fall Season starts on Sunday, September 23rd!
Here are some fun facts about Autumn to help get you in the fall spirit!
  • 1. The first day of autumn is known as the autumnal equinox. On this day, the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal. This is because the sun is aligned with the center of the Earth between the north and south of the planet. The other equinox occurs in the spring, which arrives in the third week of March in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • 2. In Greek mythology, autumn was the time when Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. During this time, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was distraught and the ground grew sparse and cold. When Persephone returned in the springtime, plants and life bloomed anew because of Demeter’s happiness.
  • 3. Those who live closest to the equator, which is the center of the planet, never experience the season of autumn. Around the equator, the temperature remains consistently warm.
  • 4. Yellow, orange and variations thereof always reside in the pigmentation of tree leaves, but they are overpowered by the abundance of green from the chlorophyll in the leaves. Come autumn, when the sun weakens and days grow shorter, the amount of chlorophyll in leaves diminishes, allowing the other pigments in the leaves to show through.
  • 5. Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.
  • 6. Fall is a peak migration time for many species of birds. During autumn, birds will fly to other areas seeking more hospitable climates. The Arctic tern journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration. That is like going all the way across the United States about three and a half times
  • 7. Contrary to popular belief, squirrels who have spent the entire autumn collecting acorns and other foods do not hibernate for the winter. Rather, they spend the majority of their time in nests they built to shelter them from harsh weather. When squirrels do come out in winter, they are usually tunneling under the snow to find the food they buried during the fall.
  • 8. Several cultures have ancient traditions that coincide with autumn. For example, the Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival to give thanks for a successful summer harvest.
  • 9. Halloween is a large part of autumn. The concept of wearing masks and costumes hails from ancient Celtic tradition. The Celts believed ghosts roamed on Halloween, and people wore disguises to hide from the spirits.
  • 10. You’re bound to see pumpkins as part of autumn decor. The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks. They called this edible orange item “pepon,” which means “large melon.”
  • 11. Evergreen trees will not lose their leaves like deciduous trees. Their leaves, also called needles, are covered with a thick wax. This wax protects the inner components of the needles, preventing them from freezing.
  • 12. Autumn also signals another colorful spectacle apart from the tree leaves. The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, tends to be visible this time of year. This is because geomagnetic storms are about twice as likely to occur during the fall thanks to cool evening weather.

*Sources: Richmond Times-Dispatch Newspaper

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