I’m one of those people who always follows the rules because I knew even when I was little that if I didn’t, I ‘d get caught. Well, let me just say Friday was the day this gal got in trouble and the week ended as it had started, not well. I found myself a lot poorer emotionally and financially. Let me explain…

It was a tough week spent with folks going through different stages of cancer. Friday just fit right in with my cancer week – a cold, blustery nasty day and I was running late to meet a friend at Señor Villa’s restaurant. I hadn’t seen her in ages and a lot had happened since our last visit with her husband being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I was anxious to give her a hug…

Well both the restaurant and street parking were non existent on the north side of the establishment. I decided to head west and then south around the block and up the alley to see if any spots remained on the south side of their building. Nope, every space was filled except across the lot, their neighbor, Taco Bell’s lot was completely empty. Not one single car but I thought it’d be more considerate to park farther back in Taco Bell’s lot so if Taco Bell’s clientele arrived they could park closer to that establishment. I was running late, had had a rough week and didn’t look around but made a mad dash for the door. I didn’t even bother to grab my coat nor purse to run inside. It’s just been one of those weeks. My mind was elsewhere obviously.

My friend and I ended up talking longer than expected and before heading to my car for me to get some money, we headed out the front to put some stuff in her car and lo and behold upon Señor Villa’s front door was a white piece of paper with the words to the effect Don’t Park at Taco Bell’s, They will Tow. OMG, I bet I hadn’t seen the sign at the other entrance because somebody held the doors open for me.

We hurried back through the restaurant and there a long bed tow truck was removing a car. It was white. Mine is silver. My sigh of relief was short lived as I looked past the tow truck bed and my car was no where in sight. In fact, it was easy to see it wasn’t there because Taco Bell’s large lot still was empty. I kept repeating, my car is gone. I couldn’t believe it. The rule follower had obviously broken someone’s rule. I asked the tow company’s employee if he towed my car and he replied “another guy got it and it was back at the towing company/ probably in a different lot. Talk to Sue.” I snapped a pic of his truck door to make sure I went to the right business.

Thank goodness my friend was still with me and while she drove me I called Craig’s Towing Company to ask the whereabouts of my car. The gal who answered was covering for Sue but she replied, “it probably was there.”

If you have experienced missing a car it’s super upsetting and it gets worse. I asked my friend to come in with me while I blubbered to Sue about my car getting towed and that I wasn’t even in the restaurant that long. Sue said they received a call from Taco Bell and there are signs posted there. Okay, so how much do I owe you? She’s writes out the bill and the $200 plus tax just blew me away. What? You’re not even 5 miles away.”(Actually it’s 1.3 miles.) When asking about a break, she quips that folks get reimbursed from their insurance. To add insult to injury, get this they don’t take credit cards nor checks, it has to be cash. What?

Now I’m losing it, what a racket! Who all is in on this cut? People are expected to be carrying around $200. Are you kidding me? She tells me that’s what the rate is. I can go use an ATM machine to get the cash. (I might be the only one in the U.S. but I have never used my ATM card. ) I remember my purse is in the ‘impounded’ car as I had just gone to the bank the day before and cashed a check. Whew I’m still seething so upon getting in my car to count how much money I had, I dialed my insurance agent. Of course they don’t they cover towing a non road side service. When all the other folks are claiming this tow from Craig’s Towing as it’s not road side assistance, there’s dishonesty going on. Part of me just wants to drive off but the goody two shoes in me says, give them what you got. Luckily I also had some egg money and went back in with $200. This is all I have. What about the tax? Well, you needed cash. This is it.

I walked out totally flustered and once in the car reiterated my apologies and thanks to my friend who needed to get back to the hospital and bid her farewell.

Time to call Taco Bell- The gal who answers says she ‘s not the one who called it in, hands me over to the guy who did and he utters stuff about 2 signs one high and one low. I asked why would you have someone towed when your lot is empty? No answer, he hands the phone to Sean, another manager who I also confront about my exasperation with the towing and use of Craig’s towing for the gouging infraction and insistence on cash. Why don’t you use another towing company? He starts telling about an accident he had and didn’t have insurance and Don’s Towing charges more. I hear laughter in the background whether he had me on speaker phone/ his staff was just laughing at his BS’ing…Unprofessional I wasn’t in the mood for, it was empathy I was searching. I retorted I have towing insurance and they don’t cover it, the towing service’s suggestion is to lie. He starts in on corporate America.

Finally he asks, “What do you expect me to do?”

“Well,” I said, “First, you don’t have to call in towing when your lot is empty. You could put a warning note on a car. 2) You don’t have to use Craig’s Towing for the reasons I mentioned. Someone made the contract with them.” I threw in at the end that I hoped nobody he knows ever gets cancer either…

It was a rough week and I’m mad at myself for not taking in my surroundings when parking, I’m p.o’ed at Taco Bell for having some vendetta with their neighbor and taking it out on the other’s customers, I’m mad at Craig’s towing company for gouging and demanding cash.

You are right if you say it’s business… Yes, they’re in it to make money but that doesn’t mean there can’t be humanity.

I’m thinking about calling Taco Bell’s corporate offices to report this unnecessary towing abuse. I alerted my insurance to keep an eye on those receipts from Craig’s Towing too.

AND let me add if you want good Mexican food while you’re in La Crosse on West Avenue, go to Señor Villa’s and by all means don’t park in Taco Bell’s large empty lot!

I know my venting doesn’t help anybody’s cancer situation nor expenses but sometimes the world around us needs to be a little kinder…


  1. And then there is Pearl Street Brewery parking. Be CAREFUL. We rushed out to see our car being jacked up to be towed. Very specific and limited parking. Neighboring business was quick on the draw to call a tow truck!!!


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