At the first impound company I worked at, the storage lot had a unique configuration that led to many interesting episodes. As you drove in the main gate, a little less than one-quarter of the lot was accessible for parking the tow trucks, employee vehicles, etc. On the left was a 3-stall garage. There were two freeway pillars (we were under an interstate highway bridge) straight ahead that you drove through to park the impounded vehicles. All other exits were blocked by cars, a construction trailer office, and the garage.

We kept one truck or a car in between the pillars as a "blocker." The gate was open at all times during business hours, and whenever we were there at night, until a remote-operated gate was installed at some point. Sometimes people forgot to move the blocker into place, which led to impounded vehicle owners stealing the cars out of the lot. Sometimes people just waited for us to leave and then rammed the gate, knocking it over, or going through it. Usually people would hop the fence and sit in their car waiting for the blocker to be moved. Or if there was no blocker up, they would park their car in the employee parking and wait for the gate to be opened. I only remember losing one car. Normally I would park right between the pillars to unhook the car, then I would park it with the self-loader, which reduced my time of immobility, in case I had someone daring to contend with.

I have a favorite story about this kind of thing happening. It happened much later in my time at that company, after the remote gate was installed. I worked with a driver who was... lazy. He was a hard worker, but he didn't always complete all of the necessary steps to do his job right. Even though we had the remote gate, which we kept closed all the time, we also kept a blocker up between the pillars, to discourage shenanigans. This driver liked to forego that step. I was in the office and had just completed a tow when he came in with a car, moved the blocker, unhooked his car, and left the blocker out of the way when he parked his truck in front of the garage. He was in the office ignoring my suggestion to put the blocker back up when a young guy came in the "people" gate to get his car. Instead of coming to the office, he ran back to his car and drove it right up to the gate. Then he came in the office and argued for awhile. We finally called the cops when he refused to pay or leave. He was standing outside of the office waiting, because he was going to convince the cops to make us give his car back.

Unfortunately, my coworker had left the window open on his truck, so the guy runs over, grabs the gate remote off the visor, hops into his car, and opens the gate. The gate opens slowly, giving my heady coworker time to run out and try to block the vehicle with his body, which doesn't work, of course. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the gate to open, because you can't stop the gate while it's opening, only while it's closing. The gate finally opens, I hit the button to close it, and the guy slips through while there is still room to get out.

The great part of the story: he stops just outside the gate, slides the remote under the closing gate to my coworker, and yells, "Sorry."

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

Leave a Reply.