News Local

Dude, there’s my car!

CHRIS DOUCETTE & CYNTHIA MCLEOD

Gavin Strickland, of Syracuse, N.Y., was unable to find his car after leaving a Metallica concert on Sunday, July 16, 2017. But an ad posted an ad on social media by his parents prompted Madison Riddles, 26, of Toronto, to head out on a successful scavenger hunt and the 19-year-old was finally reunited with his Nissan Versa on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (CHRIS DOUCETTE/TORONTO SUN))

Gavin Strickland, of Syracuse, N.Y., was unable to find his car after leaving a Metallica concert on Sunday, July 16, 2017. But an ad posted an ad on social media by his parents prompted Madison Riddles, 26, of Toronto, to head out on a successful scavenger hunt and the 19-year-old was finally reunited with his Nissan Versa on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (CHRIS DOUCETTE/TORONTO SUN))

TORONTO - 

Gavin Strickland’s road trip from hell is finally over.

The 19-year-old headbanger’s harrowing tale — which began Sunday when the Syracuse, N.Y., man left a Metallica concert at the Rogers Centre and was unable to remember where he parked — came to an end Thursday night when he was reunited with his car in an underground garage in the city’s Financial District.

“I was worried it got stolen, so I was just happy to find out it’s okay,” Strickland said with a laugh to a throng of media, as he stood next to his Nissan Versa beneath the TD Centre near Bay and Wellington Sts.

After driving to Toronto, the teen was in such a hurry to get to the concert he just ran out to the street and hopped in a taxi.

“I didn’t really pay much attention to where I was,” he said.

After the concert, Strickland walked by himself from garage to garage looking for his car. Around 3 a.m. Monday he waved down police officers who were kind enough to spend three hours searching with him in vain.

After sleeping a few hours at a police station, Strickland headed back out and searched “from dusk to dawn.”

Late Monday the devastated teen returned home to his parents who had the bright idea to post an ad on Craigslist the next day appealing for help finding their son’s 2015 Nissan.

“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,” read the posting, which also offered a $100 reward.

Other clues included that the car was parked within an $8 cab ride to Rogers Centre, near a Starbucks and some construction, a “strange spiral outdoor sculpture” was close by, and also “possibly a bank — maybe RBC?”

Enter Toronto’s Madison Riddolls, 26, who says she was “bored” Wednesday night so she and her boyfriend decided to go on a “scavenger hunt” after seeing a news story online about the teen’s dilemma.

Her boyfriend was driving and parked on the street as she ran inside — wearing pyjamas and flip-flops — scouring one underground lot after another for several hours.

All the while, she was emailing Strickland’s family, pumping them for more clues.

“I was calling it a night after (the TD Centre parking garage),” Riddolls said, recalling how she “turned a corner, saw the car and went running and was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’”

When she saw the Bernie Sanders sticker in the rear window, the Florida licence plate with Toronto Maple Leafs licence plate holder and a Canadian flag hanging from the rear driver’s side window, she knew it was Strickland’s missing car.

“I completely understand how he could have lost his car…parking is crazy down here,” said Riddolls, who suggested in the future Strickland do what she does and take a cell phone photo of his car to help remember where he parked.

Although the search was about “the adventure” not the reward, she said the $100 will enable her to take her boyfriend out for a nice dinner to repay him for his patience.

Meanwhile, Strickland says he will be forever grateful to everyone who took the time to help track down his car.

“I think it’s awesome how the city came together to help someone out,” he said

Rock on, Gavin.