Many of you know that we received discouraging information from the doctor this week. I am sure we will write more about it soon, but the short story is that the doctor is very, very concerned about Dan's latest scan. A new treatment will begin early next week. So we've been getting geared up for it, but taking some time to ourselves. Forgive me if I don't let you in on all the details- we are still sorting them out. But we ask that you take those prayers up a notch.
Anyways, I had one of the worst meltdowns today, which ended up being a good kick in the behind. I went to Smoothie King (SK) to get Dan his usual but made the last minute decision to run and get a cup of coffee down the block before heading into SK. Well, I must have parked in that parking lot 100 times and never noticed that there was a sign that said that you will get towed if you walk off the lot & didn't patronize the stores in the little mall where SK is located. You can probably see what is coming next...
So there I was... walking toward the Smoothie King when I noticed my car was gone. After realizing what had happened, I barely made it into SK before beginning to sob. The guy behind the counter recognized me and thankfully, someone offered his cell phone for me to call the tow company. I apologized for being such a blubbering mess, and just kept saying that all I wanted was to bring a smoothie to my fiance who has cancer. Plus, I thought it was bogus that I got towed after 3 minutes, especially since I was going to Smoothie King all along! Anyways, I called the tow company and asked if they could please just bring me the car- I'd even pay double. I explained through my sobs that I needed the car in case we could get into Hopkins today for a procedure. The first time I called, a woman hung up on me. The next time, the manager told me that if I had a medical emergency, I should call an ambulance. So there I am with no phone or purse, no coat in the freezing cold, sobbing to total strangers in Smoothie King... wondering what had become of my life. At least the guy gave me a free smoothie.
When I finally came home, I was just totally beaten down. I just didn't think I could sink any lower in life. How could people be so cruel- I know that towing companies are pretty much the lowest form of humanity. And I'm sure they must get a lot of sob stories, but I couldn't believe that they hung up on me (twice!) and told me to call an ambulance. All for $158 dollars. I was dealing with people without souls. I eventually called back once I had calmed down because I still didn't know where my car was, only where to take my medical emergency. I tried to explain the situation. Again- same response. And this time- the guy told me that "we all have sh*tty lives". Well, that was the last straw.
I told Dan to call them back and asked if they accepted cash. And then proceeded to count out $158 in coins from the collection I'd been building for the past 3 years. If I was going to be treated like crap and made to waste 3 hours of my day dealing with asses, than they were going to have to feel some pain, too. Dan got in on it, and we decided that even worse than counting coins would be counting sticky coins. So after we counted out $158 worth of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, we put them in strainer and poured Diet Coke all over them. Yes, I admit, this was pretty immature, but when you're down, and the urge to push back... it's tough to resist.
So off we went to Rockville, halfway excited that we'd get under the skin of the towing jerks, halfway excited for a distraction from and afternoon of heavy discussions. When we arrived in what can only be described as a dirty hole with equally troll-like characters, I shoved the bag of coins through the window. The manager immediately came back that he wasn't going to accept coins. Dan pointed out that the signs said that they accept cash, and that we had called to confirm this fact. The guy raised his voice, setting me off in a barage of things that can't be written on this blog since my parents read it. He even turned on a video camera on us - I guess he wanted to document a young woman and a bald, pale cancer patient in case we were going to leap through a glass window and attack 2 men at least 3 times our size. Anyways, Dan calmly kept asking for their written payment policy, again pointing to the sign saying that cash was accepted. The manager, conveniently positioned behind the camera, made a few rude gestures. Clearly, we were at an impass. After we refused to leave, the manager said he would call the police. Hah- I was like fine by us!
So we took our spot on the bench, waiting for the po-po. Note that we were actually pretty civilized (even me, after my initial verbal jabs). Just as I was saying we should pay & leave, b/c the guy was such a jerk, the police came- all 3 of them with guns loaded!!! We explained the situation to them from our point of view, and they went to interview the manager. They came back, asking us if we would go to a bank or pay by another method. I innocently said that my purse was in the car that had been towed, and that we didn't have a bank nearby. Dan calmly asked what was wrong with paying in coins, while it may not be technically "cash" it is still US Currency and a form of payment. The police officers seemed sympathetic after hearing the entire backstory, and you could tell they saw we were just pretty normal people who had been pushed a little too far by people who use predatory measures to make a buck. So back they went to the manager.
Somehow, the guy figured he could be rude to the police when they asked if he would consider taking the coins. He said that the police couldn't tell him how to run his establishment, even throwing a coin at their feet. Well, that was all the police needed to make the guy go in the back and count the coins. The manager was livid, but he painted himself in a corner. We just chuckled to ourselves watching the 3 police officers smirking at the situation, clearly enjoying that they were making the guy pay for being a jerk. At one point, the senior officer came out and in a roundabout way, asked us if we had always planned on paying in coins. I explained that the only reason I decided to pay in change was to show to someone that he can't take advantage of a situation & use his position to make other people feel lowly and helpless. The police officer said that he was backing us up- because he didn't like the guy (or G&G Towing) either.
After about an hour, the manager came back out & gave in. My car was free! And the guy was made to look pretty foolish about calling the police, and more like just a stupid bully who takes advantage of people. Oh, and while we were waiting, we witnessed another man come in to discuss an estimate to fix his car which had been hit by one of the company's trucks. The manager refused to hand over his insurance information, and would only offer the man less than half of the body shop estimate. The worst part was that English wasn't the man's first language and it was clear that the manager was trying to take advantage of him. Good timing- the police took all the information with respect to the incident, and the man will get his car fixed.
You may be reading this thinking that we are a little crazy. I may have recovered from the car towing and the Smoothie King waterworks, but I wasn't going to be treated so poorly and without an ounce of decency. If you ever gotten your car towed, you know how unpleasant the experience is, and how creepy the people are that run the operations. You have no power and no leverage. And we were coming off a few days where we were feeling the exact same things in life. So forgive us if we wanted to take out our anger on something and fight back a little. Dan & I make a pretty good team, and it was good to be reminded of that... and take down the bad guy.
You mess with the bull, you get the horns.
PS- Dan says that his favorite part of the whole story is that, as we were parking the car to go to dinner, I turned to him & said in all seriousness "You know, I'm not going to mess with towaway zones, but I'll still roll the dice when it comes to not putting any money in the parking meter."
A Special Message from Doug Ulman
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