He had a spinal cord injury. A really bad car accident.
Something about his vertebrae plucking at his spinal cord and he wasn’t sure how much he could walk again.
He was the store manager at WaWa’s; had spent his whole career there.
But then the injury. And his “gait” was bad, he said. So he was on disability.
And earlier this year, he went to Washington, D.C. with his daughters but had a difficult time getting around. He was using a cane, but was much slower than his 11 year-old stepdaughter.
“That’s when my older son texted me about this,” he said.
He pointed around the car wildly.
“Uber,” he said.
It made it so easy to get around, he exclaimed. And then I started driving, he said, and it’s great.
He was telling me this story even though I had hailed a Lyft.
He was telling me this story as we looped a different way by Whole Foods and the mall. I could see it’s green sign lighting up. It was 9:45, Whole Foods was about to close.
His name was Edward. He pulled through the portico of my hotel. And I got out.
Edward was bringing me back from the mall.
A different mall.
I know what you’re thinking — who goes to another mall when there is one across the street?
I do. Because I went to the 2nd largest mall in the United States, the King of Prussia mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Get this — it used to me two malls next to one another. Like one was the luxe mall and the other was the normal person mall.
They connected the two and made it one mall. Amazing.
I started with Shake Shack. Which is actually in the mall parking lot. My city does not have a Shake Shack so I made sure I went. At this one, you don’t have to wait in line. I ordered a hamburger, french fries and then later I got a shake. The Shake Shack is the best fast food hamburger I’ve ever had.
At this meal, I ate with two of my colleagues. We talked about Australia. We talked about work. We talked about movies, I think, but I can’t remember. We sat at a table that used to be a bowling lane, like where lots of dirty bowling balls rolled, like the place where people would freak at you for stepping on and now I was eating a hamburger from that bowling lane.
After the meal, my colleagues walked to their respective cars. I walked across the parking lot of the 2nd-largest mall in America.
I went in and walked. I wanted to go to Uniqlo. The concourse seemed very normal…..
In all honesty, I cannot remember the store I went in first. But while walking, I saw sayings about the reality of life.
I walked some more and found a store my wife liked. The salesperson asked if I needed any help. I told her it was my wife’s birthday. She showed me some items patterned in certain way. We looked at a few other items. I selected an item. I bought the item, but told her I needed it shipped because I didn’t have any room in my bag.
She filled out the info and I left.
I walked the concourse again and took random photos of the 2nd largest mall in America.
I saw a store that sold Tesla. The cars had their front trunk and their back trunk open and there was no engine. There are batteries inside.
One of the cars had a door that lifts up. I sat in this car.
I went up and down the escalator and saw a store called House of Hoops. It was the Foot Locker extension for Jordan Brands and Nike. They sold basketball shoes. I looked around.
Soon, I saw a Microsoft store and an Apple store right next to one another. I went into the Microsoft store. It was like the Apple store, but with different colors. I asked to see the Microsoft Surface because I was told by online advertising that it would appeal to me.
The guy showed me the Microsoft Surface and I even used the stylus to color in some pictures.
The Microsoft associate made some type of wave to someone outside of the store and he said it was his cousin and I got the idea that he no longer had time to show me how to color in pictures on the Microsoft Surface. I left the store.
Next, I saw an information desk.
A woman sat behind a desk, making a personal call I think, because she immediately told the person to wait and looked up at me.
“I’m looking for Uniqlo?” I asked.
There is no Uniqlo in my town and I always like to look at their bright lights. I had been Uniqlo in New York and downtown Philadelphia. But not here.
I kept walking. A colleague of mine told me how the lights in the luxury side of the mall change. The aisles become wider, the stores narrower with smaller doors. Some of the had bodyguards.
Vaguely sounding Italian names of brands I would never experience.
I kept going.
I soon saw another Shake Shack in front of me, now in the food court. There wasn’t a Shake Shack within 300 miles of my house in Nashville, but here were two within 300 yards. I paused in front of the Shake Shack, but then saw something even more amazing.
Superdry. Yes, that one.
See it just beyond this splatter-painted fountain and easy-to-access electrical outlet?
Whoa. This was big time. I had only been to one Superdry, in New York and rarely see them anywhere else.
I checked my watch. Ten minutes till 9pm. Store was about to close. I walked quickly to the Superdry and dived in next to a rack of tshirts. A salesman came over and sized me up.
“Nice jacket,” he said.
My light blue windbreaker — Superdry.
“I got this in New York,” I said.
“What’s that store like?” he asked.
“Um, smaller I think?” I said.
“Huh, I thought it was two stories,” he said.
“Not sure man,” I said and continued to look at tshirts with oversized logos. I looked at several hoodies, but couldn’t find one that I liked.
I left the store. It was closing. I wish I would have come here earlier.
It was time to go. I tried to find my way out. This was difficult. I was now in another part of the mall than where I started from. I was in the nice part now, I guessed. I found an exit and was soon confronted with this:
That’s right. On this side of the mall, there are no parking lots to wander. Only parking garages. I continued down the sidewalk, trying to think of a good place to call for my Lyft.
As I strolled along, I saw this outside of a small, modern restaurant. This bike was perfectly angled for subversiveness.
Yes, Supreme stickers on a bicycle next to a picnic table. I assumed that this was the “edgy” part of the mall in that it had not 1, but 2 Supreme stickers on the bicycle.
At this point, I decided to call Lyft outside of the Cheesecake Factory. As I stood outside of the Cheesecake Factory, two small children and their mother appeared from outside of the door. They were looking for their father. I know this because they said “Dad” but not at me, but at someone who was emerging across the road from the parking garage. He yelled at them “Do not go, do not go” in a semi-harsh manner before walking across the street, picking up his kids and then loading them into his BMW with his wife following.
At this point, Edward appeared and once I settled in, he told me a story about how once he tried to pick up a person for a ride from the top floor of the parking garage, but the person had exited down the stairs to the bottom of the parking garage, because the person didn’t know they had a smart driver like Edward, who was from around the area, and would know to pick up the woman on the 2nd floor of the parking garage.
Edward then drove me to my hotel that was located by the other mall.