Parking attendant at British zoo takes off with the funds- Fiction!  Possible Aprils Fool Joke!

Summary of eRumor:

A story about an unknown man who worked at the Bristol Zoo in England for 25 years as a parking attendant.  One day he stopped showing up to work and the zoo administration called the Bristol town council to hire a replacement.   The town council told the zoo that they never hired a parking attendant in the first place and it turned out that this person was not an employee of either the zoo or the city.  Calculating the costs the zoo figured this person took off with close  £4 million and is probably enjoying a very expensive retirement in Spain.

The Truth:

This story is a myth, according  a notice posted on “This is Bristol,”  a visitor information website in the United Kingdom.   Click here for This is Bristol UK site.

The story began circulating around early April and it is believed that this is just an April Fools joke that exploded on the world wide web.

updated 06/17/09

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England , there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses.

It was manned by a very pleasant attendant carrying a ticket machine charging cars £1 (about $1.40) and coaches £5 (about $7).  This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn’t turn up for work.

“Oh well”, said Bristol Zoo Management – “we’d better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant…”

“Err … no”, said the Council, “that parking lot is your responsibility.”

“Err … no”, said Bristol Zoo Management, “the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn’t he?”

“Err … NO!” insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain , is a bloke who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at £400 (about $560) per day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over £3.6 million ($7 million)!    And no one even knows his name.