Kia Lingers in Hospital Lot for Years, Sparks Historical Quest

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
kia lingers in hospital lot for years sparks historical quest

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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  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 11, 2019

    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

  • Dave M. Dave M. on Nov 12, 2019

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

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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