Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tow me

Disclaimer: Not even one bit of this post relates to photography in any way.
Disclaimer: Quotes below are as I remember them. Parties may be mis-quoted.

Last night I headed over to my buddy's party on University. He lives right across from the apartment complex my girlfriend lives in, so I parked in their lot. Having spent all afternoon working on her computer, I figured I would drop it off at her place, grab a guest parking pass, and head back to the party.

I did just that - minus one very important step. 

Of course. I forgot to grab one of the guest parking passes.

The party started around 10pm. I parked and got into the house around 10:30pm.

I figured I'd stick around for an hour, smoke some hookah, and head home before anyone knew where I parked.


I was there until 12:30. When I left the house and saw the empty spot where my car was, I knew instantly that I'd been towed. 

I found one of the (many) signs informing unfortunates like me that violators would be towed "at owner's expense."

 Upon calling the appropriate number, I found out that they had indeed towed my 2002 black VW Jetta. To the opposite side of town. 
"Your total comes to $175.00"
I crashed for the night on my girlfriend's couch and awoke at 6 this morning in hope of contacting someone who would ferry me to the other side of town.
My phone battery died overnight.

Through the miracle of Facebook, I found a caring soul willing to drive me to other side of Flagstaff to get my car. I showed up at US Metro Towing around 10am - 12 hours after discovering my car had been towed.


They aren't normally open on Sunday, so we called and asked if someone could head over and help me get my car back. I sat in the driveway for 20 minutes before Brian showed up. Brian is a 2-tour veteran of the Iraq war. He owns and runs the business. 

I stand up, ready to make nice. My goal for the experience was to be positive and easy to deal with. Something I usually excel at, even in less-than-desirable situations. He hops out of the truck

"What car are you here for?"
"Black Jetta" I reply.

His demeanor instantly changes from pleasant to pissed. 

"Oh really?!" he says, "we're prosecuting you - I'm calling the cops right now."
Brian then marches next door to Katt's Towing company and yells out "Hey Randy, your buddy is here!"
Randy comes sauntering out all sorts of pissed off. 
"I'm calling Flag PD right now" he says. Brian chimes in "they're gonna take you and your dress to jail." I was wearing a kilt. 

 I'm confronted with two guys, one of which is an experienced warrior. I'm not gonna get all pissed off at these guys because there is precisely NO chance I can win. I am carrying the empty holster for my gun. I'd taken the gun out and locked it in the car the previous night. I cross my arms and attempt to ask why.

I get a lot of "you think you can cuss me out," and "you're going to jail" and stuff of that nature from both men.

"WHY am I being prosecuted?" I want to know what to expect from the police, and whether I have the funds in my bank account to get myself OUT of jail once I'm in.

"You own the black Jetta, right?"
"name's Adam, right?"



That stops both of them. Double take. Just like in the movies. I nearly laughed out loud.

"you know a guy named Adam?"
"No. I don't know any Adam."

Randy is still on the phone with Flag PD. Brian hesitates and asks me the same questions again. 

"No. My name is MATT. I called around 12:30 in the morning."

"You called this morning at 2am and cussed me out on voicemail!" Randy isn't ready to give up. He's sure I'm the biggest asshole who ever walked the earth and he intends to punish me for it. Satisfied an officer is on the way he hangs up.
"I'll play the voicemail, here, listen!"

He plays the voicemail. Some dude named Adam clearly cusses him out on voicemail. Threatens to sue him. Says he owns a 2006 black VW Jetta. Doesn't give plates of VIN #. His car was towed from the same apartment complex. It's the same color, make and model. Different year. Different engine.

I point out to Brian and Randy that my vehicle is a 2002 DIESEL Jetta, and that I was towed before midnight. To top it off - I called the right company. Katt's towing (Randy's company) didn't even tow a black Jetta that night.

I offer to have the cops come out and run my plates to verify the ownership and year of the vehicle.
That stops them again.

Brian immediately apologizes profusely. As he opens the door to his office, he offers me a discount. Once he sees my ID he apologizes again and again. He knocks my fee from $175 down to $150. 

I tell him it's ok - I understand nobody likes getting towed and people are generally pissed about the experience. This was my first time getting towed. To be honest, I kind of enjoyed the experience. I wont be repeating it anytime soon, but I'm glad it happened.

I also make a BIG point to thank Brian for his service to his country. I respect the men and women who serve in all the armed forces. I respect the police officers who risk their lives for traffic tickets. I respect firefighters and medics who keep us healthy. I figure anything I can do for these people, I'll do.

I tell him that. "Thank you for your service. If paying $150 for towing supports you, I'm happy to do it." Not only do I say it, but I mean it. He can see that and he's speechless for the second time in 20 minutes.

He still charges me the $150. I gladly pay it. It means one less AB800 strobe for me (finally - something photo-related), but I don't care.

Without further ado, he opens the gate and lets me get to my car. I thank him again for everything he has done for this country, he thanks me for being understanding, and I go on my way.

Overall, I'm happy with the experience. Brian was very professional after realizing his mistake. Sure, I could have probably gone after him and Randy for assault or something. Waste of my time. He apologized and that's all I care about. I called Randy back and he apologized as well. Turns out that this Adam character was drunk. His car hadn't been towed. It was parked right where he put it.

Lesson learned: Keep the F&^*%ing guest pass in the car.