The very image of a tow truck with a vehicle loaded on the back can cause a spike in blood pressure among anyone who's received so much as a parking ticket.
The sight of one parked illegally raises the scene to a new level of outrage. One which must, inevitably, be lived out to its fullest extent on social media.
One recent night, a visitor to the Burnsville Center shopping mall noted a tow truck sitting in the fire lane, just outside Applebee's, just after 8 p.m. "Cars had to take turns going around him," reports the witness, who also take a photo of the truck, "as he was taking up the entire right hand lane."
The purpose of this stop, as far as this witness could tell: dinner. "Decided he'd just park there while he went in, found a booth, and grabbed a bite to eat," says the parking violation vigilante, who adds the driver later came out with a "to-go" box in hand. The Chevy Blazer hooked up to the back of the tow truck was left running the entire time.
This photo and story later appeared on a couple Facebook pages dedicated to documenting bad experiences with Twin Cities parkers and drivers. The irony of a tow truck driver ignoring parking standards -- and getting away with it -- was too much for many, who piled on criticism about the business, Tyson's Towing, which is based in Burnsville.
Then the towing company's owner showed up in those Facebook threads to tell people what he thought of their complaints.
The truck was there to deliver the Chevy Blazer to an interested buyer, according to the owner, who goes by "Scottie Prez" on Facebook. (That's why he says the Blazer was left running: to keep it warm for its new owner to hop right into.) The truck only stayed in that location because the buyer didn't show up on time... and then the drivers got hungry, so they went inside to grab some food.
As it turned out, the would-be buyer never showed up. Scottie says this situation was explained to mall security, who evidently took no issue with the parking location.
One commenter replied this explanation isn't good enough, and said Scottie (or his driver) is "an ASS for parking in a fire lane," to which Mr. "Prez" replied that she was "a bitch for acting like parking police."
At other times, the tow company owner and a man who claimed to be an employee there seemed to threaten their detractors with a revenge towing. "Watch what you say your car might go missing sometime... lol," wrote the employee, while Scottie wrote that someone's car could wind up at the impound lot, writing, "then let's see who gets [the] last laugh."
The posts on both local Facebook pages (Minnesota's Bad Drivers Exposed and Asshole Parking in the Twin Cities) have since been taken down, but the initial story (and some of the responses it generated) survive in screenshots.
Reached by City Pages, the Tyson's Towing owner said parking in the fire lane was "not done deliberately," and was only done at the request of "the customer," referring to the person who'd planned to buy the Blazer. He adds that it was "wrong" of people to criticize a small local business, which he notes is named in honor of his late son.
"They could have easily called us and talked about it instead of posting and going viral about it," the owner says, sounding like someone who has only recently discovered how most people use the internet.
Almost all the people taking shots at Tyson's Towing don't live in the Burnsville area, and haven't used the company's services, he says. To go on Facebook and besmirch the company's name over this one incident is "unfair," especially without knowing the whole story.
"My drivers have been notified to not do this again," he said. "We are sorry for any inconvenience that this has caused."
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