In Defense of Britt McHenry

Over the past several days a rising star at ESPN has come under major scrutiny. You don’t have to like sports to have heard about the Britt McHenry blow up. This attractive reporter went viral in the worst possible way when a camera caught her berating an employee at a tow shop. Incensed that her vehicle was towed, McHenry blasted the business while also taking personal shots at the employee’s weight, teeth, and education. ESPN responded by suspending her for a week.

While the majority of America is outraged at her outburst, there is a segment of the population that is on the side of Britt McHenry. While I don’t condone her personal attacks, I do understand her frustration.

Last month I flew out of a very small airport. With time running low I parked in the first lot I could find. I got on my flight and forgot about my park job. When I returned a few days later my car was gone. Knowing I probably didn’t make the best decision on where to park I figured my vehicle had been towed. Sidney came and picked me up and after some driving around we found the sign explaining where unauthorized cars (such as my Toyota Solara) would go…it wasn’t to my apartment complex.

I called the tow company and they told me gruffly that they had my car but I only had 30 minutes left in the day to claim it before the shop shut down and the ransom on my car would go up by $50. Sidney hurried through Myrtle Beach traffic to get me to the location in time. Thanks to her timely driving I arrived well ahead of closing. After some previous bad luck with my vehicle, the annoyance of having my car towed, and the way I was dealt with on the phone, I walked inside the shop with a small chip on my shoulder.

When I entered the tiny and cluttered shop, no one was at the front desk. I could hear someone in the small adjoining office watching TV. I breathed loud and shuffled my feet to get the point across that someone had just walked in. With no bell to ring and still no one coming to help me I took one of my Don’t Blink pens out of my pocket and held it up as high as possible and dropped it on the counter. The lady who I had talked to 15 minutes ago who knew I was coming finally shuffled out to the front desk.

“What can I do for you?” the lady asked.
“You can give me my car back,” I said in a frustrated/joking tone.

She gave me some attitude and I wasn’t the nicest back. She informed me that the price to get my car back would be $200. I tried to hand my debit card to her.

“We only accept cash for these types of tows,” the lady said.

That didn’t sit too well with me. Who carries $200 cash in their pocket? I flat out refused. Nope, not gonna do it. She relented and said she could run my debit card if I paid an extra $5 fee. For some reason she thought that would deter me.

“Run it,” I said.

She grabbed my card and grudgingly swiped it. I signed the paperwork releasing the tow company from all the damage they could have done to my car and walked out into the tow yard. I spotted my car boxed in by three other cars. There was no way of getting out and the lady at the front desk sure wasn’t moving the cars. She told me that “the guys” were out on a job and I would have to wait for them to return.

I walked back in the office and waited for 20 minutes. The lady went to her little TV room and left me to wait. Sidney didn’t like the tension so she just waited in her car. With the time I had to wait I examined the place and realized there was an ATM in the corner. Perhaps if the lady alerted me about it I would have used it and given the cash she wanted instead of serving her my card. Oh wait, never mind, the ATM was out of order.

Not wanting to be in that cramped store any longer I went out and waited in the gravel yard. “The team” finally arrived and moved one of the beater cars so I could get out. The tow place had scribbled a number across my windshield. I asked the guy how I could remove it and he suggested a razor blade or the corner of a credit card. I hopped in my car and got the hell out of there.

I am not protesting my car getting towed. I parked in a spot I shouldn’t have and I paid the price. What I am trying to get across is that not all tow companies provide the best customer service. In some instances, they just offer up rudeness.

In Britt McHenry’s case, the audio on the video is edited. You can only hear her voice and not the employee’s. While the personal insults were out of line, you do have to wonder what the employee said. I know from personal experience that some workers will antagonize folks who walk inside their stores. Perhaps some might insult too? On this one, I think I am going to give McHenry the benefit of the doubt. Don’t Blink.

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