Confessions of a Tow Truck Driver: The Customer Who Refused To Pay
Today I have a confession to make. I hate being on call. But the reason why is not what you might think.
Yes the restless half-sleep you get while waiting for the phone to ring is bad. And the zombie-like feeling, the next day, while you long for the comfort of your bed, can be treacherous. But what I hate most about being on call is having to deal with some of the people who are out at that time anyway.
My mom used to say “nothing good ever happens after midnight” and I’m inclined to believe her. Here’s what I mean.
One of my most horrible memories while being on call was having to chase a guy down for payment. I had already been called out twice that night and both times were false alarms. One was a stranded motorist, who, at the last minute decided to get a ride and leave her car till the morning. The other was a police call that canceled. So I went back purgatory waiting for the phone to ring.
Then at 4:00AM, it rang again. I jumped up and headed out the door.
When I arrived I found an all-night, off-campus college party, and a girl who needed a winch-out. I completed the job and was collecting my fee when I heard the familiar sound of wheels spinning in mud.
Needless to say I was summoned to help. About an hour later, due to the difficulty of a car being too close, I was finally able to get this car out too.
But when I tried to collect my fee the driver said he had no cash, only a debit card.
I punched the numbers in as usual, but his card wouldn’t work on my phone.
So I agreed to follow him to an ATM, but only if I could hold his card. He agreed and we drove about 7 miles to the nearest gas station. I handed him the card and waited outside. A few minutes later he came out empty-handed. He said the ATM was out of order.
It was nearly 6:00am by then and I was beat. There was a bank across the street so I suggested he go over there.
I watched as he drove across the street and behind the building, out of sight…to go through the drive through. But he never reappeared on the other side. I couldn’t wait any longer and drove over to find that he was gone. He had slipped down a road behind the bank and raced away out of sight. I spent the next 20 minutes looking for him, with no luck.
Needless to say I wasn’t very happy.
The towing business can be tough, one minute you’re helping someone out of a sticky situation and the next you’re fighting that same person for payment.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you had to chase someone down for money? If so I’d like to hear about it.
I’m creating a new YouTube series designed to show the world what towers must contend with on a regular basis and I’d like you to be a part.
You see towers get enough bad press. You work day and night to clear the roads, assist stranded motorists, and get babies out of locked cars, but somehow many still see tow truck operators as the bad guys.
Motorists love to complain about towers, and now it’s your turn…to show the world what the towing business is really about.
So if you’ve ever had to deal with the world’s most nasty customer, or the unreasonable expectations of motor club customers, I want to hear about it.
I want to know about the time you lost your cool and why? Or a time your boss treated you badly. Or the time you were most scared while doing your job.
Tell me about the time, while working a wreck, that things didn’t go as planned. Or about the world’s worst motor club dispatcher, or even your own company dispatcher.
Anything that has to do with the day-to-day challenges of the towing business, I want to hear about it.
Don G. Archer is the former owner of a 12 truck, 20 employee towing business. He now spends his time helping others build and start successful towing businesses around the country. Don is a multi-published author, educator, and speaker and is known as the tow-evangelist, www. thetowacademy.com Want to learn more? Email him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org