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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

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Friday, April 07, 2006

I got towed!

Would you believe it? As if getting rear-ended for a few thousand dollars worth of damage was not enough, last night our damaged van was towed and impounded by a company that was "just doing its job" in our neighborhood. Vicki and I had cleaned out the van yesterday, in preparation for having it towed to the repair shop today. I was obviously not thinking clearly, because I thought I was being smart in grabbing the parking permit tag, thinking ahead and making sure that we didn't loose access to that tag while the van is being repaired.

Of course, there was a night intervening! When we took out the trash this morning, we noticed an empty spot right in front of our house. It didn't matter that this was the same van that had sat in the same reserved parking spot for the last twenty-two months. The company found a vehicle without a parking tag, and they impounded it.

The truly depressing part of the story is that the local homeowners's association had no interest in granting mercy or clemency with regard to the impound fees. I'm sure that the person I spoke with has to deal with towing complaints all too frequently, so I was at a disadvantage with her. All she would suggest was that I should write a letter to the association.

Similarly, the towing company didn't care what I was going through or why I might have had the tag hanging inside the house instead of inside the van. Their only interest is in collecting the hefty fees posted on a greasy sign in their office.

The truly bright spot in the day was Julie from Allstate's Sterling auto repair. She immediately sympathized with our situation, and assured me that their towing company would have no problem picking up the van from the impound, and that the insurance company would take care of the impound fees! We really are in good hands.

I had to drive to the impound office to sign a release for the van before the repair shop could pick it up. I found myself frightened and disgusted by the number of tow-trucks I passed on the roads this morning. It appears to me that we have created an ecosystem where these sharks can thrive with no natural predators. I believe it's time to tighten the reins, to work with our HOA to improve the rules for towing, at least in our neighborhood.


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