I actually afraid about it.
After advertisement about towing and tow companies and tow fees and tow practices and what’s acknowledged and actionable and what’s fair and arbitrary about towing for several weeks now, what if — god forbid — it should appear to me? It’s not implausible. What if the tow companies acquisition me? What if they set their architect on my bashful little Honda Civic and go to town? Because, really, what could be a added applicable anatomy of anapestic justice?
Now I know. There isn’t a added applicable form.
I know, because I got towed.
I got towed while bistro brunch with a friend, abominably adequate our Sunday, as my bashful little Honda Civic was demography an adventitious ride to the impound lot.
I got towed on the actual Sunday the advanced folio chance I had co-written about towing ran in the Express-News.
I got towed because I didn’t pay absorption to area I was parking, because I didn’t apprehension that I was parking in advanced of a driveway. I’ve accounting a lot afresh about bodies who accept they were unfairly towed; some of them accept alike won those arguments in court. But I was not one of those people. In this chance of Tow Woes, I was completely, utterly, 100 percent, at fault.
How’s that for anapestic justice?
Luckily, I’m all for axis an actually ashen Sunday into a acquirements experience/transportation blog, so actuality goes: a annual of my parking transgressions and the ballsy chance to retrieve my ride.
1:20 p.m.I phoned my acquaintance Javier, who’d I met for brunch because he was in boondocks from Houston. I phoned him afterwards I absolved to area I anchored on South Alamo Artery alone to admission at two abhorrent realizations: my car was gone; and because it was gone, I could now see the driveway I had anchored in advanced of. A aggregate of irony/anger/despair/and abhorrence formed over me. Javier collection against me in his own car, and I began the chase to get my Honda back. Two men who assignment at restaurants beyond the artery told me Texas Towing took the car (thankfully, not one of the companies whose advisers I’ve interviewed in contempo days). One of their lots is amid on Steves, a abbreviate drive away, so we headed in that direction. I declared 911, to ysis with badge if my car in actuality had gone to Texas Towing. They bare my VIN cardinal or authorization bowl number. I knew neither.
1:30 p.m.We accustomed at Texas Towing. I remembered the USAA app on my acute phone. This app saved my activity several times Sunday, as it provided me admission to my auto allowance information. We arrested with Texas Towing. They didn’t accept my car at the Steves lot. Try the lot on Growdon, on the far west ancillary a the old Kelly AFB, I was told. I declared the buzz number. They had the Honda. Using my newfound towing knowledge, and alive that tow companies accept afresh been accused of overcharging, I accepted (I’m sure, absolutely annoyingly) that the being on the added end of the band accord me an exact ysis of what I owed:
$121.60 for the tow. (It was an chance management, or public, tow because my car was removed from a accessible street. A clandestine tow, off a clandestine lot, costs $85, according to the burghal ordinance. Sadly, I did not get this lower rate.) $20 for the agent accumulator fee. $20 for the impound fee. $25 for a dollie fee. $1.63 for tax.=$188.23.
But I had an estimate. To the far west ancillary we will go, I told Javier. We would blanket this up shortly, right?
1:50 p.m.-ishWrong. We got to the lot. We waited in line. Javier told me, wouldn’t it be funny if you had contributed parking tickets? I told Javier, it will accomplish a bigger chance if this accomplished bearings got worse, haha. I gave the woman at the window my information. She a me I accept two contributed parking tickets that now absolute $80. I will accept to drive aback burghal to the burghal magistrate’s appointment and pay them afore my car can be released.
In case anyone isn’t accessible with the numbers, that’s $80 $188.23=$268.23
Who’s bedlam now?
1:59 p.m.We got in Javier’s car and began our chance aback downtown. I declared the magistrate’s office, to affirm this was the appropriate abode to go. As I waited on hold, I told Javier, “This is the cardinal I acclimated to alarm aback I covered abomination and bare advice about declared criminals!” Javier didn’t absence a beat. “This time,” he told me, “you’re the criminal.”
2:05 p.m.Still driving, still on hold.
2:10 p.m.Still driving, still on hold.
2:15 p.m.We accustomed at the magistrate’s office. Still on hold. We absolved in. Still on hold. I afraid up.
I went to the cashier’s window. I told them what I bare to do. They told me to sit bottomward for aloof a second, because it was the about-face change.
I had waited at the magistrate’s abounding times before, but usually it’s for arrest affidavits — added people’s arrest affidavits.
Javier was right. This Sunday, I was the criminal. Well, the idiot, at least.
2:20 p.m.Still waiting.
2:25 p.m.Still waiting.
2:28 p.m.I went to the cashier’s window.
2:33 p.m.-ishA magistrate employee came to the window. Huzzah! I paid the tickets.
2:35 p.m.We took a slight detour and collection to see Javier’s grandma on the East Side, so he could t her afore she larboard for church. This aftereffect would be actually extraneous to my story, except afterwards Javier told her my woes, grandma promptly said she’d been account all about the towing, including my Sunday story. Topical.
3:30 p.m.We larboard Javiers grandma’s abode and collection aback to the impound lot on Growdon. We were accomplishing a appealing acceptable job of authoritative the best of this, if I do say so myself. We’ll blanket this up quickly, I assured him.
Texas Towing was active on this Sunday afternoon. The band was abundant best than it was before. We aing the abounding others clutching their assorted forms of affidavit to prove that we were all the applicable owners of our corresponding vehicles, all of us a little guilt-ridden, a little sheepish, maybe. How does one let this happen? How does one end up here, on a Sunday, one footfall abroad from giving up claret and urine samples artlessly to retrieve the cartage we are all apparently still aggravating to pay off?
Towing, it would seem, is addition one of those abundant equalizers: We can abhorrence it with according fervor, and yet all appropriately accept messed up abundant to deserve it.
I listened to the belief of added bodies in advanced of me: there was the aged woman, walking with a cane, whose son was arrested the night before. Now she had to get his car back. As she listened to the accountant bang off the absolute to retrieve the car, the woman briefly seemed to cramp but afresh anticipation contrarily of it. “He’ll pay me back,” she said. There was the ancestor and son who artlessly capital to get into the car, to adjudge if it was alike salvagable or whether they should aloof booty out the admired stereo system. And there was the man, called Martin, who approved to explain many, abounding times, that he was the alone one who knew how to assignment his barter and about-face it on appropriately but he didn’t have his driver’s authorization with him; alone his acquaintance did, and his acquaintance couldn’t assignment the vehicle. The woman abaft the window said she couldn’t let him aback there after some anatomy of ID. But I accept to get aback there, Martin said, because no one abroad can about-face on the truck. You can’t, she said, because you don’t accept your ID. They went about in circles for awhile until Martin and his acquaintance larboard the line, answer their ambition to get his license.
I kept eavesdropping, aloof WAITING for one of the tow aggregation workers to do article abnormal and abjure one of the barter their rights. That way, I could get all Sally Field, but instead of captivation up a assurance that said “Union”, I’d authority up a sign with the abode for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, because they adapt the towing industry. But it didn’t appear that way.
A actual continued time later, I got to the advanced of line, with my ID and my affidavit that I’d paid the parking tickets. I allegation your affidavit of insurance, the woman said. It’s in my car cuff compartment, I told her. She told me I could go get it, but I’d accept to delay in this band AGAIN. Enter the USAA app, which accustomed me to fax the tow aggregation my allowance agenda from my phone. That app performs miracles, I’ll acquaint you. Finally, I paid (they took a acclaim card, acknowledge you actual much). Almost there!
4:20 p.m.-ishI went alfresco and was told to delay some more. A tow aggregation worker was to drive us into the impound lot on little golf carts so we could get to our vehicles. But the golf barrow was full. So Javier and I waited by the gate.
It was awash outside. Some bodies were continuing in the adumbration of the architecture overhang. Some kids and adults were throwing about a football in the parking lot. Several tow trucks pulled up to the gate, carriage in addition afflicted victim.
And we kept waiting.
4:40 p.m.The golf barrow accustomed to retrieve us. I said goodbye to Javier and absolved through the gate, followed by a man acrimonious up a car on account of his son and by Martin. The man actuality for his son’s agent told me, Ladies first, and I took the advanced seat. He and Martin joked that now they were ashore in the back, with no shade. I laughed, and said I should be alone off aboriginal so one of them could booty my seat. Martin asked the golf barrow disciplinarian if he could smoke a cigarette. She said no. I told him, “You can never smoke appropriate aback you allegation it the most.” It was a abnormally back-slapping atmosphere at the end of this continued day, all of us actuality for the aforementioned crime, all of us accepting beat continued faces and stood in continued curve aloof to get to this golf barrow ride.
The tow aggregation worker dropped off the ancestor first; I was next. As I hopped off and opened my car, Martin told me acceptable luck. He told me my car was nice. I told him I don’t amusement it as able-bodied as I should, and he directed me to take better affliction of it. Afresh the golf barrow was off, Martin its aftermost passenger.
So this was my three and a bisected hour Sunday ordeal. If you assignment for the burghal of San Antonio or one of the tow companies mentioned in my contempo belief — both entities I’ve formed with questions afresh — I don’t accusation you if you accession a bottle to my misfortune. If you are one of my coworkers who ability be absorbed to advertence this chance in the approaching for some brash attack at humor, I accept annihilation to say to you except, the tow barter comes for us all.
That’s the funny allotment of the story, the acrid part, about a anchorman advertisement on towing and afresh accepting towed on the actual day the chance on towing she appear ran in the newspaper.
But there is added to booty from this than artlessly a acceptable story. I started my towing chance with several advantages: abundant money to pay for the tow, an immense armory of recently-acquired ability about the towing action and industry, and a actual affectionate acquaintance accommodating to booty me all of these places, chargeless of charge.
I can’t say that was accurate for anybody I saw in band at the towing facility. What would best bodies do if they absolved to their car alone to acquisition it gone? Would they apperceive to alarm badge or apperceive that towing companies accept a two-hour window afore they accept to acquaint badge they’ve hauled a agent away? Would they accept accepted the aberration amid a accessible and a clandestine tow, and the aberration in costs and which companies do what? Would they accept had a adorned acute buzz app that got them quick admission to their allowance card? Would they accept had the added money to pay off those parking tickets or pay the tow in the aboriginal place?
I actually achievement things formed out for anybody who stood in that appointment with me, on a Sunday that would accept been bigger spent accomplishing about annihilation else. I achievement it never happens to me again. I achievement that woman’s son pays her aback for the tow fees.
I achievement Martin got his barter started.
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