Friday, October 20, 2006
This is Tim, and he has been a Tow-Truck Operator in Louisville, Kentucky for the past ten years. Before driving a tow truck, Tim worked in a factory -- a job he despised due to its routine nature and indoor confinement. As a Tow-Truck driver, Tim rarely gets bored because the job is mobile and always unpredictable. "You never know what your next run is going to be. You might go down the street hooking a guy up or you might be a mile back in the woods." Tim’s company offers both roadside assistance and vehicle impoundment. His favorite parts of the job are meeting new people daily and helping them out when their vehicle has broken down.
Tim admits that the main drawback of his job is the irregular hours. He is on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and only receives every other weekend off. Each day he works 8am to 6pm from the office and then goes home to have dinner with his wife and kids. But, as soon as the phones rings, Tim gets right back in his truck and heads to work. "Most of the time whenever you got something planned, it never fails that the phone will ring." When asked about the most awkward time he has been interrupted by a work call, Tim laughs and says, “ You don’t want to know what I was doing..."
Typically, most wives would get upset with Tim’s unpredictable work schedule. However, Tim's wife understands because she too works for the Tow Truck Company as a Dispatcher. He likes working with his wife, but sometimes gets frustrated because if she doesn’t work, he usually has to. The few days that Tim does get off, he enjoys driving racecars and spending as much time as possible with his children. He also reads "Tow Times", a magazine that keeps him informed on the latest happenings in the industry.
Tim says that, often, Tow-Truck drivers get a bad reputation because they are under contract to tow illegally parked cars. People constantly yell and take their frustration out on him, when their vehicle has been towed. Tim's approach is to not argue back and always explain that he is simply doing his job. “I know that people get pissed off every time we take their car, but they just parked in the wrong spot.” Tim says that even right now, two of his buddy’s cars are sitting in his impoundment lot. “I have to uphold my contract”, says Tim, "there is nothing that I an do."
One of his funniest Tow-Truck experiences happened a couple years ago while impounding vehicles at Phoenix Hill, a local bar in Louisville. Tim was in the process of towing a van when he found the owner drunk and asleep in the back. Tim and his partner had to remove him from the van and leave him in the parking lot. While picking up his van, the man told Tim that he woke up the next day confused and laying in the parking lot.
When asked whether Tim foresaw himself working as a Tow-Truck Operator for the rest of his life he said, "Well I am thirty six years old now, so I don't really think I'll be getting a new job anytime soon."