Although I worked in the impound industry for many years, I did not do a lot of repos, but enough to have some good stories.  The first repo I ever did was for a small credit agency, on an early 70's model Chevy Nova.  The credit agency rep wanted to ride along, and one of the drivers who worked with me also wanted to ride along, so we all piled into a Ford Diesel (not ideal for repos) with an Eagle Claw and headed out.

The car was parked at a motel.  Seemed strange to me that the rep knew it was at a motel.  Turns out the vehicle owner was a lady-of-the-evening, and she was working.  I didn't feel particularly nervous, but the credit agency rep apparently was, because he starting breathing rapidly and heavily, almost to the point of hyperventilation.
  The angle to the back of the car was tough, so I didn't quite get the Eagle Claws set before lifting, and it slid off.  Then I got nervous.  I dropped it twice more before getting the claws set right.  The gas tank got kind of messed up.  But we got the car, and the agency rep was happy.

Many years later, the company I was working for got a repo contract for another small credit agency.  For these cars, we had owner info, but no one to find the vehicle for us, so it was a hunt-and-tow set-up.  One of the addresses, for a Dodge mini-van, was out in a rural area, so I waited until late (around midnight) and drove out to check it out.  The address was a mobile home in a very rural area.  No lights anywhere, except for a large floodlight on the front of the mobile home.  There were cars everywhere--on the lawn, in the driveway, behind the mobile home--about 15 total, but no Dodge mini-vans.  I was about to leave, and then I saw, out in the field behind the mobile home, the outline of the rear of a mini-van.  It looked like the right vehicle, but it was well off the road, on the other side of the mobile home.  There wasn't even a driveway out to where it was.  I sat there for several minutes and thought about it.  There was no easy access to the front of the van, which was a front-wheel drive, and that made it even more risky.  Finally I decided it wasn't worth the risk, and I drove back to the shop.

One of the other drivers asked me about it, and I gave him the scoop.  He told me he was going to go try to get the mini-van.  I told him he was nuts, and I went home.  The next day I came into work, and there was the mini-van.  He had driven out to the house, turned off his lights, backed ACROSS the front lawn, into the field, slid the wheellift through the tall grass under the bumper of the van, threw his safety chains around the rear axle and into the chain slots on the crossbar, lifted it up on the chains, and drug it back across the lawn, IN PARK.  The grass was slick, so the wheels just slid without tearing up the sod.  He got it out on the road, dropped it, turned around and grabbed it from the front, and got out of there.  He told me that while he was throwing the safety chains around the rear axle, the one thought in his head was, "When is the gunshot coming?"

Another driver I worked with did a similar repo in a rural area late at night.  He had an address, and he mapped it out in his Thomas Guide (days before GPS navigation).  He drove for miles on a rural road, and then it turned into gravel.  He drove farther, and then there was a gate.  He drove farther, and then there was a mobile home, with the K-5 Chevy Blazer with oversized tires he was supposed to repo, parked within a few feet of the trailer.  He snagged it from behind with his Eagle Claw, strapped it, and took off.  He told me later, "I was in such a hurry I didn't lift the claws high enough, so when I went through a dip it exploded the ratchet when it hit the ground."  Exploded the ratchet.  It would have exploded my HEART.   Who keeps going on a rural gravel road THROUGH A GATE?!?

Probably what the vehicle owner was thinking as he slept peacefully through it all in his mobile home.

Have a safe and
profitable week,

Nick Kemper

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