This is the nightmare you get when you combine a 4 am start to my day + a business trip+ the Manchester, NH police and and evil towing service. On Thursday, I was on my way to Philly to teach an all-day workshop on creating Data Driven PR organizations for PRSA. I headed to the airport early, thank god, and was stuck in traffic on the road heading into the airport. Not quite sure what happened, but the next thing that happened the airbags were popping out and I had crashed my Honda Element into the back of a very large truck. Needless to say the Element got the worst of it. In fact, after the smoke cleared, it clearly wasn't going anywhere, and I managed to roll it to the side of the road. Fortunately, the owner of the truck was as nice as could be, and he and I shared the same basic goal -- make our flights. The police were there in short order, as were the EMTs and the short answer was, yes we made our flights -- in fact -- this is New Hampshire for you, the guy I hit actually gave me a ride to the airport. That's my hero of the week.
But every story needs both heroes and villains and in this case, the villain was Sam Vargabedian of the towing company which is who the Manchester Police calls when they want something moved in a hurry. Once he had my Element on his truck he informed me that unless I came up with $125 in cash he would only take it to his tow lot. Since I had did happen to have $125 in cash, I asked him if he would take it to the closest Honda dealer. He then said it would be $125 PLUS clean up costs. I asked him how much that would be and he said "It depends how long it takes." I had about $150 on my, and clean up consisted of one shovel full of sand but he clearly wasn't interested in any discussion so he drove away.
I spent every spare minute of Friday filing insurance claims and trying to figure out where to have the Honda towed. By the end of the day, I'd gotten a recommendation for a body shop, called AAA to arrange a tow. However, when AAA called Queen City, they were told that they were closing up for the weekend, wouldn't open for anyone and my vehicle would have to remain there over the weekend, wracking up unspecified "storage fees." Even the guys at AAA were surprised at how rude the Queen City people were.
At that point, AAA told me that I'd have to start the process all over again on Monday. I just did.
Now Queen City says they won't release the car at all without cash or a business check. I'm in Durham and car less (memo to self, make sure that your insurance includes rental car coverage) and have no way of getting to Manchester even if I wanted to drive there to give them cash. They still haven't told me how much the bill is, AAA can't pick it up, and the only hope now is that the nice folks from Harleysville Insurance can sort it out. The question that I have for the city of Manchester and their police department is: what kind of kick backs do you get that would make you call such evil horrible people when someone needs help in your town?