No doubt you’ve heard the wonderful story of the Bristol Zoo car parking attendant who wasn’t.
The story is that he sets up his own meter in the car park, charging £1.40 for cars and £7 for buses, and does this for 25 years, day in, day out.
Then he suddenly disappears.
The Zoo asks Bristol Council where their bloke was.
Bristol Council responds: he’s not our bloke. We thought he was yours.
Meanwhile, parking attendant is sitting on some Bermudan beach with £7m in his bank account.
We love stories like this in the same way we love Brer Rabbit and Robin Hood fables: the cheeky underdog fools the authorities and emerges victorious – and in this instance, very rich.
The email comes with a comment from the person who is currently recycling it: “A perfect example of government mismanagement”.
Trouble is, the story is nonsense. A lie. Gobbledegook. A complete and utter scam. Sorry.
So however much we may think the government is mismanaging our affairs, this is not the example to use to demonstrate it.
Bristol Zoo insists there has never been any confusion over parking attendants and says it has several attendants and more than one car park, none open to coaches.
The fees allegedly charged by our charged by our hoax hoaxer for parking are wildly wrong.
And finally, on a purely practical note, who in the world could attend a car park, day in, day out, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for 25 years?
A version of the story did appear in the Bristol Evening Post two years ago – in a feature on urban myths published to coincide with April Fools' Day.
The message is: the world is full of duff information. We need all the help we can get to sift the mountain of iron pyrites to find just a little pure gold.
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