The Celebrity Parking Brigade

A brand-new bright red sports car came to a full stop, its driver waving me ahead of him and into the lane with a gallant sweep of his hand. It was John Lithgow.

I was stuck in a driveway off Sunset Boulevard, my right-turn light blinking timidly. A naturally cautious driver, I scooted out one inch at a time, watching as car after car flew past. Just when I felt the bleakest, when Los Angeles felt the most cruel, a brand-new bright red sports car came to a full stop, its driver waving me ahead of him and into the lane with a gallant sweep of his hand.

It was John Lithgow. Now, this might not seem so extraordinary, but consider this: That same week, another skittish driver of my acquaintance was wedged into a rather impossible parking space. After inching forward and back for several agonizing minutes, a solicitous stranger walked up behind her vehicle and began directing her. It was Jon Voight.

From these two seemingly unrelated incidents, I first came to know of the mysterious Celebrity Parking Brigade, kind Hollywood do-gooders who repay the loyalty of their fans with help navigating one of America’s most treacherous cities.

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