The pain of being towed

Have you ever walked to a parking lot and noticed something is missing?

Not seeing your car where you parked it is terrifying­. Thoughts race through your head: I thought this was where I parked it – did someone steal it? Was it towed? How do I find it? What do I have to do to get it back?

If this has happened to you, you know how traumatizing it can be. You have no idea where to begin the investigation – at least I didn’t.

My parents and brother were in town for the weekend. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Headed to church, I was driving. My brother stayed in the car as we dropped our parents off at the door. Struggling to find a spot, my brother and I agreed that a certain spot would be “good enough.” If I didn’t learn then, I know now that “good enough” isn’t.

Once the service had ended, we walked out of the building and towards where our car had been parked. About half way to the parking space, I noticed the spot was empty. I met eyes with my brother. Both of us were trying to process where the car could have gone. My parents were still chatting and eventually noticed my brother and I?had stopped walking. We stood there silently looking at each other.

“What’s the deal?” My dad said. “Where’s the car?”

“Um,” I responded, barely able to breathe. I pointed. “We parked it right there.”

As if my dad was blind, I continued. “It’s not there anymore.”

“Well, where is it?” he responded mercilessly.

“I don’t know…” I said, looking around wondering what a person does when their car is stolen. Steal someone else’s? Walk around looking for it? Call 911? Head to a dealership? Sit down and cry?

A sign in the vicinity of where I parked caught my eye. This sign, faded and barely legible read “No Parking.” Not that I felt any better, but it became clear what had happened. The family car had been towed.

Now what? Had I been alone, I probably would have stood in the empty parking lot sobbing and hoping the car would magically re-appear. Instead, we trudged back into the church and spent a little time with the pastor, secretary and a few members of the church.

Everyone had their own ideas of who to call or what we should do. Finally, after a considerable amount of time, we made a few calls and finally tracked down the car.

$100 later, we were able to drive our car out of the impound. Looking back, I would have rather walked to church. Barefoot. In a snowstorm.

I learned a lot that day. Besides not parking in unauthorized spots, I learned what steps to take if you are stupid enough to disobey. In fact, a college course should be offered to cover this topic. Towing 101 could cover all the basics of how to retrieve a towed car.

Since this isn’t an existing class, I did a little research for my readers. The City of Fargo website had everything I?needed:

1.) Border Cities Towing 280-0620 is Fargo’s contracted towing service. All vehicles impounded under the authority of the police are stored at the city impound, 715 17th St. N.

2.) The standard towing fee is $60 with an additional $10 release fee and a $15/day storage fee. Additional charges may be incurred depending on the size of the vehicle towed or whether additional equipment was used to tow the vehicle. For example, since the front of my car faced a brick building, it was more expensive to tow. So if you’re going to park illegally, the easier you make it for the tow guy, the cheaper it will be. In addition, all fees must be paid (IN?CASH!!) prior to the release of the vehicle.

Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

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