By on November 8, 2019

Every car sitting abandoned in a parking lot has a story to tell. Yours truly often wonders what circumstances led to the abandonment of a pickup outside a notorious strip club not far from Casa Steph. A tree has now emerged from the broken asphalt directly in front of the truck’s prow.

In the (only) Canadian city of Toronto, a well-kept Kia sedan sat observed but unmolested outside a hospital for over four years, prompting a security guard to embark on a search for its owner. It’s a story worth reading, given the time of year. As it turns out, the guard wasn’t the only one searching.

The story, published by CTV News, concerns a dark blue 2001 Kia Sephia that appeared one day outside a Toronto hospital in 2015. The owner never came back for it.

If you’re thinking the obvious, you’re right. The owner never left the hospital. Nor did the car, which continued to sit in the lot even after the hospital closed for a two-year conversion into a transition facility. Work took place around the Kia, which wasn’t in the way.

The permanently parked vehicle was first brought to the hospital’s attention by security guard Francesco Barbera, who noticed the car’s expired tags and a veteran’s plate. The hospital assumed the owner’s family would soon come and collect it, but no one showed up. Out of respect, the hospital let the car remain where it was, even during renovations and the opening of the revamped facility.

“He drove in here, he rushed into [Emergency] and the car idled for a couple of days and ran out of gas,” said Barbera. “And it hasn’t moved since.”

“If we take it off the property… and put it in a garage somewhere or a pound somewhere, we don’t want the family to come back and have to pay a large bill, so we kept it there for more of compassionate reasons than anything,” said Joe Gorman, director of communications for Humber River Hospital.

The inside of the vehicle was frozen in time, showing the artifacts of a life soon to end. Two canes. A jacket. A bottle of water. Determined to seek out the owner’s family, Barbera, sleuthing during his free time, learned that the car’s owner was Arthur W. Goyetche. The car’s records listed no address for the owner, but a parking lot tag pointed Barbera to a property management company with a number of Toronto-area apartment complexes.

Through the company, he learned that Goyetche was a tenant at a Weston, Ontario property from 1998 to 2015, and that the car’s owner had died on May 29th of that year at the age of 84. Goyetche had a wife, Betty, who died 11 days after her husband’s passing.

While the mystery of who owned the car was solved, it didn’t explain why the owner apparently had no living relatives. He did, it turns out, but was estranged from his family for decades. Family members, including his brothers, had been attempting to find him.

Barbera first contacted a Darryl Goyetche in Alberta, Canada, who happened to be in the process of filling in the blanks in his family tree.

“I’ve heard from two family members… who told me about their estranged brother,” Darryl told CTV. “Lynda in [southern Ontario] tells me her husband Gerald has a brother, Arthur who they have been trying to locate for many years but unsuccessfully. Their Arthur was in the Air Force in his younger years and was known to live in Belleville with his wife Betty, and one son Bruce. He had a bad heart condition.”

Gerald and brother Clarence had apparently been searching for their long-lost sibling for years, but were only able to turn up that he last lived in Southern Ontario. The last time they saw him, Lynda said, was at a 1968 wedding. None can explain why Arthur broke off contact.

While it’s not the news the family members were hoping for, after five decades apart, they at least now know what happened to their lost sibling.

“The family gets closure; I know I would want closure anyway,” said Barbera. “I wasn’t looking to get anything out of this and I’m glad we were able to get somewhere.”

Friends and family drift apart for reasons big and small, sometimes for no reason at all, and the end of life can find many people completely alone. Some individuals, like Arthur, walk into a hospital and disappear from the world entirely. It’s likely more common than we think. What takeaway we’re supposed to draw from this story is up to you.

As for the Kia, CTV didn’t detail the fate of the car. It seems it’s still there, awaiting family that now knows of its existence. Barbera claims the four-plus year stay outside the hospital (where vehicles normally accumulate $23 a day) will only be worth $5 to the person who collects the Kia.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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49 Comments on “Kia Lingers in Hospital Lot for Years, Sparks Historical Quest...”


  • avatar
    R Henry

    I hope my final ride is in something a bit more interesting.

  • avatar
    PeterKK

    Right in the feels.

    This was a good story. I liked it a lot.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    RIP, Arthur and Betty.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    Wow. Talk about Canadian politeness gone wild. In any US city, that car would have been towed to an impound lot within a week and probably crushed by now.

    Or stolen, because

    “car idled for a couple of days”

    Keys in the car and engine running… for DAYS???? Wow. Just wow. I suppose it never occurred to me how long a car could idle before it ran out of gas, but still. Wow.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    OT factoid: “In the (only) Canadian city of Toronto” …. Canadian city names must be unique within the entire country, whereas US city names only have to be unique with each state.

    Far as I know.

    Makes it easier for post offices.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    So I guess Bruce already passed away?

    And people, especially long-married surviving spouses, can literally die of a broken heart/lose their will to live.

    your body can get flooded w/all sorts of stress hormones and literally give up.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Canadians are a rare breed, in a good way. This is what would happen in a US facility:

    HOMER: Here are your messages.
    “You have 30 minutes to move your car”,
    “you have 10 minutes to move your car”,
    “your car has been impounded”,
    “your car has been crushed into a cube”,
    “you have 30 minutes to move your cube”.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      At a typical US bank, they would have accumulated the parking fee, plus service charges, plus interest.

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      Homer – You owe the city $800 – towing, storage, crushing charges (except we pieced it out for $800!)But you don’t know that!!!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Not QUITE that fast, at least in Maine. There was a rather nice e46 M3 that sat collecting dust on the first floor of the Portland, ME Jetport for the best part of TWO YEARS. After about 18 months it got booted and a big sticker on the window saying that is was due to the Louisiana license plates having expired(?!?). Finally disappeared after another three months or so. At the time, that was probably a $25K car, so I always wondered what the story was. I have a picture of it looking sad under a thick layer of dust with the boot and the bright orange sticker in the window. Parking garage is $12/day so that got pretty spendy.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Sad that Arthur didn’t have anybody, aside from his wife, who knew of his whereabouts.

    As for the car, was this the last generation where Kias in general were still a budget brand without much else going for them?

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    Is this the car?

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/43%C2%B043'30.0%22N+79%C2%B029'11.8%22W/@43.724985,-79.4871535,132m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m6!3m5!1s0x882b31756c90389d:0x136f97b62b29ff7c!2sHumber+River+Hospital!8m2!3d43.7236606!4d-79.4890182!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d43.7249846!4d-79.486605?hl=en&authuser=0

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    there’s an old red Kia at the hospital on Google Streetview for June 2019 that looks a lot like the stock photo. A few stalls away from the pay kiosks. Looks spotless.

    RIP to Arthur and Betty.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    @FerrariLaFerrariFace:

    Wow – small parking lot. I’m surprised they let anything sit there that long.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    @FerrariLaFerrariFace, that’s the new Humber River Hospital, which opened a few years later (which was meant to take the place of the old Humber River hospital several km away, and another nearby hospital). This is the location (the car is also visible in the street view).

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/43%C2%B045'12.1%22N+79%C2%B031'35.4%22W/@43.753364,-79.5270562,142m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m6!3m5!1s0x882b31756c90389d:0x136f97b62b29ff7c!2sHumber+River+Hospital!8m2!3d43.7236606!4d-79.4890182!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d43.753363!4d-79.5265094?hl=en&authuser=0

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    @Maymar,

    No, that has a moonroof. It’s not impossible that a Sephia had a moonroof, just unlikely. If you switch to Street View, I think maybe it’s the one next to the silver car in the back corner of the lot (there’s a lady walking towards the camera, from the silver car).

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Maymar’s link is correct. The former hospital is located at 2111 Finch Ave West, North York ON. The car can been on streetview from the entrance drive off Oakdale Rd.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “Yours truly often wonders what circumstances led to the abandonment of a pickup outside a notorious strip club not far from Casa Steph.”

    There was a case where a dude had a heart attack at a whorehouse and went to ER via ambulance. Legally no one could tell the wife where the truck was parked due privacy/confidentiality rights.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    The original article, with pictures of the car: https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/a-dead-veteran-s-car-was-parked-at-a-hospital-for-years-his-estranged-family-now-knows-why-1.4675997

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    So sad. Mostly that someone let a car idle for days on end. WTF.

  • avatar
    Roader

    When my 100-year-old widower grandfather died no one wanted his eight-year-old K-car with 20K miles. Yeah, it had some dents but it ran fine though none of the relatives wanted to put the effort into selling it, plus we all lived a two-day drive away and we’d all flown in to town. We parked it on the street with the keys in it. Problem solved.

    25 years ago before driving to work I called the cops about an older car abandoned and presumably stolen, running, in my Denver alley. Came back from work ten hours later and the car was still there, still running.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow ;

    A sad story to be sure .

    Nice to see the young guard guy cared .

    Many decades ago ‘Snakpit’ had a raggedy Corvette he couldn’t sell that was insured so he left it running out side the worst liquor store in Pasadena late one night and it was still there when he came out ready to begin yelling ‘!? WHERE’S MY CAR ?!” .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    In tiny Connecticut there’s New Haven, East Haven, North Haven and West Haven. South Haven wasn’t available because of Long Island Sound.


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