We’ve all been there. Your day starts out fantastic, you’ve hit the jackpot and found a dope parking spot on Miami Beach. Score. You go on to have a wonderful day, swimming, hanging, eating with friends. Time to get going, you walk back to your car and you can’t find it. Maybe you walk around the block a few times thinking you parked it somewhere else.
Then you end up right back at the same empty spot, defeated. The sinking feeling sets in. You finally admit it to yourself: your ass got towed.
It’s the worst. Especially on South Beach where trucks ride around at all hours waiting to pick up cars day and night like vultures. But you’re not alone. It happens to everyone. (You kinda can’t claim local status until it happens to you.)
Since we’re exploring South Beach this month with our neighborhood guide, we asked you to tell us your heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, funny but not really stories about being towed in Miami Beach. And man, you all delivered.
Some of the stories have been lightly edited for clarity.
A day at the spa turns into a hot mess
My sister and I went to get facials by Purdy. We were feeling super zen and relaxed until we got to where we had parked my car, and it wasn’t there any more. We had been towed half a block to Beach Towing for parking in a stretch of street that for 1 hour every Saturday was no parking. I hate Beach Towing with the passion of 1,000 suns.
— Lauren Fernandez
When the towing company screams in your face
Last time I got towed I questioned the pricing (my Vespa was towed). The guy behind the counter told me the pricing was on the wall. I asked (nicely), if I had to pay the same price for a Vespa tow and his response was, “What are you, a fucking idiot? The pricing is on the wall.”
I’m not one to back away easily so I kept on asking, letting him know that I was a resident and I felt that the price was astronomical, to which he got more angry and belligerent. Long story short, another guy finally came out and then offered me “resident pricing.” I have the whole thing on video tape. It was atrocious.
Or straight up laughs at you
I parked in a parking lot, but the machine to pay was broken. I even had a video that showed it was broken, and got towed anyways. When I went to get my car I told the guys the machine was broken and that they had done it on purpose — and they recognized they did and laughed.
Think there’s strength in numbers? Nope.
One New Year’s Eve I went to a party on West Avenue across from Whole Foods. There was NO parking anywhere, but I saw a row of cars parked in the Whole Foods parking lot so I joined them. There is no such thing as safety in numbers. When I returned, ALL the cars were gone to the tow lot. It costs a pretty penny to get your car back. It’s like they have kidnapped it and are holding it for ransom. It was not a good way to start the new year.
— Michael Cole
And sometimes it’s sea level rise’s fault
It was raining and the parking lot had large areas of standing water. Thought I was parking legally. When I came back later, the flooding was gone and so was car. The place I parked had striping on it I couldn’t see. Cost me $600 between towing and ticket.
When you kinda messed up (and a bonus)
I moved to South Beach a few years ago, and the first days requires you to place a temporary permit on your dashboard while you wait for utility bills to arrive so you can prove your 33139 residency. The paper was a bright red thing that reflected badly in my windshield, so I had to remember to put it up every day when I parked. Once, after a long day at the office, I forgot to put it up. Came to my car in the morning to go to work (late, naturally), only to find it wasn’t there. I get it, it was my fault, but there’s really no cross-referencing with the City parking department, ever? What FELT like $5,000 later (I still have no idea why they’re not required to accept credit cards), I had my car.
The worst part was seeing the same a-holes from that “reality” show waiting on me behind the glass (Sidenote: I used to watch them film the “real” interactions with paid actors posing as angry customers when I lived next to a vacant lot on Lenox and 7th…they’d shoot the same scene 4 times). I sold my car a year and a half ago, because fuck it.
Bonus story: I was with friends freshman year in college at UM. None of us were from Miami so we trusted the man in the safety vest and his “PARKING $10” sign to park in a private lot (we were 18!). He got his $10. My friend got her car towed.
Or someone else messed up and straight up breaks your shit
My car was towed from my old office located on the beach while I was working. I took an Uber to retrieve it, and while driving home on 836, my car started overheating. Turns out, the tow company busted my radiator after towing my car in a manner that apparently wasn’t too careful. The tow company took my car back to “fix it,” and when I went to pick it back up, about a week later, I overheated again on 195. They had to take my car back AGAIN to fix it — completely inconvenient — and yet I was never offered a refund on my original tow charges, despite all the trouble that ensued.
I was parked at a meter in North Beach overnight. When I went to get my car in the morning, it was gone. My first instinct was that it was stolen, but I quickly ruled that out. Then, I thought that maybe I had parked it somewhere else, but I was 100 percent sure that I had parked it in that exact spot. Then, I figured that it had been towed. It wasn’t in a two-away zone, so I called the non-emergency Miami Beach police hotline. They informed me that a drunk driver had slammed into my parked car (and three others) at 4 that morning, and all the cars (including his) were towed. Funny thing is, the drunk driver fled the scene (on foot, I’d like to add), only to be caught drunkenly wandering the streets of Normandy Isle by police officers. My car was totaled.
— Maya Sebastian
Or you have diarrhea and you just need a break
I use to run permits at the city. One morning I was not well but had to go had intense pain, nausea, and diarrhea. I parked in front to run to the bathroom when I came out 5 minutes later the car was GONE!
And sometimes when we get towed we can be jerks, too.
I got towed from the West Avenue parking garage for leaving my car there overnight and going over my 12-hour payment by, like, two hours or something. Fun fact: That particular garage is NOT public, it’s private, so they can tow your ass instead of ticket you. I was not cognizant of that at the time. I ended up where we all end up — at that shithouse tow lot in Sunset Harbor near Burger & Beer. But I ended up there in an insanely sweaty, hungover, hangry rage (in last night’s sexy clothes & heels OBVIOUSLY,) which made it the optimal moment for me to throw an unadulterated bitch-fit temper tantrum at the counter.
“You know you’re basically just telling people to drive home drunk, do you understand that?!” I shouted to the man behind the counter. “DO YOU REALIZE HOW FUCKED UP THAT IS?!” To which he calmly, and accurately, informed me that it’s not their fault. That the garage calls them to tow me. Sick burn. That information certainly did not stop me from being a jerk, but it did make it clear to me that I was making a complete ass of myself. Called out. Foot in mouth. They sunk my battleship. Get me out of here.
I got the keys, got back in the car. And oh what fun… Now the fucking gate won’t open. I sat in the car for waiting for almost five minutes, knowing this was well-deserved chessmatch retaliation for my ridiculous behavior. Then I gave up and stormed back inside. “Look I KNOW I’M TERRIBLE BUT WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LET ME GO HOME, the stupid gate won’t open & I jus-”
To which a woman in line just pointed at the glass door at my backside, behind which was an open gate and my red Pontiac Vibe waiting to be released. Checkmate. The Lesson: Drive home drunk. JUST KIDDING. The Real Lesson: Fortify yourself with food & booze at Burger & Beer before you get your car back… no matter what you’re wearing.
— Madelyn Young Former Asshole Resident of Coral Gables
We saved the best for last — the mac daddy of all towing stories, (theres’s champagne, models, and handcuffs involved)
So my very attractive girl friend Jessica and I are having a little fun beach day popping champagne and celebrating our friendship since 6th grade. In the midst of the celebration and her “tipsyness,” she gushes to me how I should be a model and how pretty I am, to which I reciprocate her compliments and convince her SHE should apply. We are in South Beach, where there’s several model agencies arms distance. Let’s go! (We grew up watching too much “8th and Ocean.”) We get in the car and aim for our first target agency. Typical South Beach with it’s glorious parking, there is none available to us. We decide to park in an empty bank parking lot, disregarding the towing sign. But it’s Sunday and the agencies are closed, duh! With our heads slightly low, we walk back to the bank parking lot to find it, well, empty again.
“They couldn’t have towed it, impossible, we were here for maybe five minutes!” we said.
The dark reality set in. They towed it. A suspicious man (We later found out that he was a runner watching us the moment we parked) tips us that it would be at Tremont Towing. We call and get confirmation. We made use of that bank real quick and withdrew the steep nearly $300 fee. We Google the location and make our 40-minute walk under the blazing sun. … The nightmare get’s worse and another champagne fueled BRILLIANT idea surfaces as we walk towards the entrance.
I immediately notice these idiot crooks have left the gate open and our car is staring at me in the face whispering sweet things about taking it out and avoiding that fee. Next thing I know I am reverse backing out of that impound parking lot quicker than I thought of this idea in the first place. I told Jessica to distract the guys and meet me later. My phone rings and instead Jessica’s voice beckons me, “Please just come back.” She proceeds to tell me that they are threatening to call the police. I reluctantly head back to the impound. I slyly park the car around the corner and switch to foot to check out the scene. A strong debate between my ego and logic endures before I make my long awaited appearance as “the crazy girl who thought she could get away with this.”
Before letting out the first word, the police handcuffs me quite aggressively. Without reading my rights. In a semi-busy intersection. Wow, Lily, killer first time in cuffs. He inquires if I have been drinking to which I reply “I had a glass of champagne earlier, but I am not drunk.” (I did sweat it out in that long walk.) He shoves me in the back seat of the car and shuts the door, leaving a nice scene through the window of Jessica bawling her eyes out in between the repeating of “I am so sorry.” Before I get a chance to think of all the consequences, the police turns to me from the driver seat and confesses that this was just to “teach me a lesson” and scare me.
This assured us that modeling was not in our future.
— Lilian Mustelier