You Touch That Truck and I Break Your Arm

Well, what I really said was: “You touch that truck and I call the cops.” More politically correct, and more believable, considering that I am female, weighing less than half what your average New York tow truck operator weighs… I am going to tell you the story of how I came to be at odds with a couple of tow truck operators in the middle of the night in the Shea Stadium parking lot. And for any of you readers who don’t think females should be adjusting truck claims, call me – I’ll give you a long list of references, all of them are guys who handle truck claims and all of them have been around the block as many times as you.

So, I got the after-hours call from our client. Our driver had gotten onto a Parkway. In New York, Parkways are for cars only. There is a reason that the Parkways are for cars only and our driver had discovered it – he had topped the truck on an overpass. Fortunately the damage was not too great and he was able to get the truck off the Parkway and into the Shea Stadium parking lot.

Our client had a rig in Jersey and was sending it over to take the load. My instructions were to wait with the driver, see to it that the load got transferred onto the Jersey rig and not let the tow truck guys get our truck.

Maybe it’s this way in other states, maybe not, but in New York they award the contract to tow trucks off the Freeways and Parkways to companies who make their living holding trucks for ransom (outrageous tow fees). Somehow only vultures get these contracts and it is a sad and expensive day for a company when their rig falls into the hands of such creatures.

I got to the Shea Stadium parking lot thinking this was going to be a piece of cake. The driver and I should have no trouble with the tow truck carrion eaters – usually the driver can fend them off on his own. My state of mind took a turn for the worse when I found our driver. He barely spoke English and he weighed less than me. How could such a tiny guy drive such a huge vehicle? This question never got answered because the vehicle wasn’t moving and the tow truck guys were on us right away.

“Lady, we gotta tow the truck.” “No.” I was nice but firm. The truck was going nowhere. They backed off for a little while. But soon they were getting insistent, demanding, in their own estimation probably a little threatening. I’d seen worse. I grew up in the Bronx. I backed them off with the promise of jail time.

Finally after two hours the Jersey truck showed up and some guys started transferring the load. This was going to take hours. Normally a very boring part of the job, watching guys lift and move things. But this was an unusual night, and the time passed very pleasantly. The Jersey driver was an absolute hunk, and very talkative.

The load got transferred, the tow vultures went home empty-handed and our client got the damaged truck to his own shop under its own steam. The hunk drove off, never to be seen again outside of dreamland, but it was a good night all in all.

I run the Boston office now, and still handle truck claims in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I like Boston and the people are great, but they’ll never pass it off as New York.

– New York Truck Adjuster

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