Yes, it is I…the Grim Tower, who after several years of working in the towing industry has decided to hang up my tow life forever. Now, this is the most difficult post to place here, and the gods know that in a million years I never thought I’d be posting about someone that once considered a friend. With that being said, here is my final towing company post I will place on this site. Once posted, I will NOT return to post about any responses. 21st Century Towing, that also works with the names Friend’s Towing and Relentless Recovery is just yet another of the many towing companies that has some good employees in place, but has an owner that acts like a tyrant and slave master. It’s funny how the wealthy will sometimes try and short and keep as much money away from others than themselves. A bit of background…I was employed as a driver for 21st Century Towing back in Oct of 2016 after I had left the road as an OTR truck driver so I could spend more time with my family. About January of 2010, I was given the title of SW Operations Manager and ran the newly opened SW division of the company. Now, 21st Century is mainly a PPI (impound) company that tows vehicles that improperly or illegally parked. In Portland though, they also have 3 City police contracts, but that is in Portland. The SW division did not do tows for police. After a year and a half of doing my my job, working countless hours over and beyond just to make a check to take care of my family, I was terminated for a mis-understanding. Personally I believe it was because I think he’s having money issues and wanted to get rid of the EXTRA $6,000.00 per year that I was paid to manage the SW division. Why do I say this? Simple…on this last Mother’s Day, I was on routine patrol looking for illegally or improperly parked cars to impound, when I came across a car at one of their properties they patrol for (Brightwaters at Redhawk) in Tigard. No one was around, no flashers, etc. The hood on the car was cold, so I took pictures and hooked up the car. When I was getting ready to depart with car in tow, the owner and her family came out. They were upset of course but didn’t have the $160.00 that 21st Century Towing charges for a drop fee. As it was Mother’s Day, I gave them a huge break and only charged them $40.00. Now, I didn’t have an invoice with me as I had left them at home, and they weren’t doing a credit card transaction (I had those). I told them I couldn’t give them an invoice and they were fine with that. A few days later, the owner of 21st Century Towing, Clark, called and woke me up out of a sleep (I had been out on patrol most of the night), and asked about the woman and the $40.00. I told him that I hadn’t dropped the money yet (sometimes it would be a week or more as I was in SW and the main office was in N. Portland). I told him about what happened and he asked about the invoice. I told him I didn’t write one for it but that I was just going to give it to him when I saw him. He seemed irritated but hung up. A few days later, he called me in to his office (broken down old house, though not where he lives of course) and fired me. I offered to give him the $40 right there and then and he said, don’t bother! That was kind of weird, but he does get into weird moods and even has quite the angry temper when he’s mad. He was calm with me, even looked like he felt guilty about it. I asked him if he would not challenge my unemployment claim while I was looking for a job. He told me it wasn’t even an issue. Ok, a couple weeks go by and unemployment calls to tell me that Clark has challenged the claim and told them I was fired for THEFT! What a crock! As a manager for the company I have held on to money for longer periods of time, have used company money for petty cash for things needed at the SW lot, etc. I’ve even used money to pay a personal bill like prescriptions, but always put it back when my wife earned tips, etc. This was known by him and never questioned for a year and a half! That man’s word is garbage and worthless. Well, finally I got a job that requires a lot of travel and time away from my family as an OTR truck driver again. We really could have used that couple of weeks of unemployment as it was about 3 and a half weeks before I got hired with the new job. We almost got evicted! That lying piece of crap called Clark of 21st Century Towing is absurd. I still think that I was fired because he was saving $6,000.00 a year extra that he didn’t have to pay me anymore. His wife Judy is almost as bad. In this industry, you have to drive around hundreds of miles per day/night looking for cars to tows. It wasn’t un-common for me to spend 17-19 hours out on patrol, get up early in the morning to go down to the lot and do a vehicle release, etc. I also had a great relationship with the clients in my division, whom were sad to see me go. I STILL get calls from them wishing I was there as 21st Century Towing isn’t doing the great job that I was. To them, all I can do is recommend a good company to switch to and that is Retriever Towing. They are large and are always prompt and professional. Oh yes, back to Judy….when I was having to get draws just to pay my bills, she went off on me and told me that if I wasn’t making enough money that I shouldn’t take ANY days off! Oh, and BTW, my schedule consisted of working for TWO straight weeks, available 24 hrs AND patrolling most of those hours, then bringing the truck down to the main office and taking 2-3 days off. How dare she! Can you say assistant slave master? Now, I’ve worked for, and managed other towing companies for owners that I considered friends before. They were pretty humble and modest about their wealth. Even my friend that owns one of the largest towing companies in the country never flaunted his wealth to his employees. What do Clark and Judy do? They park their expensive vehicles, like the two Mercedes (one a large SUV) in front of the office. Clark sometimes shows off his over-size International truck, they store their boat, ATV’s, etc in storage shed there, but….they will pay as little as they have to to their employees. The one exception to this is the company Christmas party. They buy food, give decent bonuses and have a raffle with some cool gifts. Yes, this is a last minute write-off fro them, but I think it makes them feel better about themselves for the way they treat their employees. I sincerely regret having wasted a year and a half of my time with those two losers. I feel bad for the employees who are there, even the salaried ones get run into the ground. These two in my opinion are pathetic and don’t deserve to have a towing company. Oh, one last thing to help people not fall victim to their drivers. If you have a 21st Century Towing driver demand a drop fee, here is what you do. First, take a photo of HOW their truck is hooked up to your car. Often, the drivers will HOPE that you don’t know the towing laws that exist. If they are not FULLY hooked up to your car, going IN TOW when you come out, they have to drop it FREE. That means if your car is front wheel drive and they are hooked to the back only, WITHOUT the front tires on DOLLIES, then it gets dropped FREE. your car is REAR wheel drive and they are hooked to the front only WITHOUT dollies and its in gear or an automatic, it gets dropped FREE. All Wheel Drive? ALL wheels have to be OFF the ground, or its FREE. Here is another thing to look for STRAPS! Ok, the car is off the ground, but are the STRAPS attached to the tires OR did they just LIFT it up and demand a DROP FEE? All of these scenarios require them to DROP YOUR CAR FREE! That photo you take is worth its weight in gold! If this happens in the City of Portland, contatct Marion Gaylord, the City Tow Coordinator. You will get your money back. Elsewhere in Oregon, contact the Oregon Attorney General’s office. You’ll get your money back and there is a GOOD chance 21st Century Towing will get fined. They hope most people don’t know about the laws so they can get a bunch of drop fees. So what if they have to give back a few here and there or get a fine or two? It’s a numbers game. Good luck to all….
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