In short:

Gopher Towing is a towing company that I had an interesting run in with in February, 2001. I figured I would create a little homage to them on e2 in order to honor the experience.

Who Are They & What Do They Do?

Company Address:        1321 TYLER ST NE 
                        MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55413
Business Start Date:    Jan-1972 
Telephone #:            (612) 782-8872 

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Gopher Towing, Inc. is a towing service providing service towing, private property impound towing and automotive fleet repairs and preventative maintenance.

What's Your Story?:

Well, I am glad you asked...

On Saturday, February 24, 2001, I stayed overnight at my girlfriend's apartment to avoid a monster snow and ice storm that was howling its way through the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. Minneapolis has very strange, and very strict unspoken laws when it comes to parking your automobile during one of these weather events, so I took great care in picking a parking spot for both legality and convenience.

In the morning, my girlfriend got up and went off to church. I left sometime after her to go home and brave the day. I spent a good fifteen minutes outside brushing and scraping the snow and ice off of my vehicle. The car was thickly coated and hardend like a giant icy jawbreaker. Cold and frustrated from my chilly labors, I climbed into my car and attempted to pull away from my parking spot. The car moved nowhere. I got out and assesed the situation: I had been plowed in by the cities monster snow plows the night before.

I tried rocking it. I tried scaping snow away from the tires for better traction. I tried it all, I am a Minnesotan. But, I came to the conclusion from prior experience that this ride was going nowhere. I called AAA. The man on the telephone told me that there were a lot of motorists in trouble that morning and that the wait would be somewhere on the order of four hours.

Grudgingly, and without any other options, I told him to take my information and he gave me a case number. To burn time, I started the ten block walk to find a bagel and some coffee at Bruegger's Bagels.

Now, I know that ten blocks does not seem like a long way to warm weather folks...but I swear it is a very long and very cold walk when the windchill factor is -30. I bundled up and took a package of Men's Pocky I purchased from the Japanese grocery the day before (in case I get trapped in a snow-drift and have to suck on Pocky and drink melted snow until they find me and dig me out) and went on my way.

About eight blocks into my journey to find a bagel, I came across a tow truck with the words Gopher Towing emblazend on the side idling at an intersection. My white knight! I will bribe him into pulling me out now!!

I walked around to the side of his truck, knocked on the window, and did the little Grey Poupon, "roll down your window," hand motion to let him know I wanted to talk to him and not car-jack his truck. He seemed very nice as rolled down the window, and said nothing but, "hey, if you need help run around to the other side and hop in."

I climbed into his truck and explained to him the situation. He told me that he had three cars to impound but that he would get to me right after. He took my cell phone number and told me he would get back to me in about an hour-and-a-half.

I got out of his truck and walked the rest of the way to Brueger's and got myself a Bagel and some tea. I remember very distinctly at that moment coffee had lost its appeal. I do not know why.

In two hours, I got got sick of waiting for his call and set out to walk back to my girlfriend's apartment and my car. On the way, I opened my phone and noticed that I had missed his call. Damn. I called him and he told me he had been waiting for me and was just about to cancel. I told him that I was sorry and that I will be there in a few minutes. I ran the whole way.

When I arrived, I apologized again and he told me how it was okay. The tow truck driver was about twenty two and he looked very clean for a tow truck driver. In fact, he looked more like a college student than a tow truck driver. He told me that it was okay to make him wait because he was working on picking up this hot girl inside of Quizno's who's car was stuck also.

In fact, he told me he was a college student and that he just does this part time. He had only started three months ago. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. Even more so, because he told me he had heard my vehicle's plate go out on a AAA call and told me he would charge AAA instead of me and I still get to jump the waiting list!

He backed up to my car and took off the bull hook he was going to use to pull my car, a 1999 black Volkswagen Jetta, out with. He took a shovel off of the back of the car and shoveled around the driver's side front tire to provide him with better access to be able to hook something.

He reached the hook around and hooked onto something behind the tire, gave the cord a couple of test tugs, and said, "we'll have it out in no time." He jumped back into his truck and started to creep forward. "POP!" the hook came off. He backed up again and jumped back out. No noticable damage.

"Okay, let's try someplace else," he said. This time he layed on the ground and took more time placing the hook. He climbed back into his vehicle and started pulling forward again. My car lurched foward, being pulled by its front tire. It looked as if it was about to come free of the snow-bank when, "THWACK!" Something came out from my car.

The driver stopped his truck and jumped out. We both moved to view my car front-on, and we got to see this:

                          0  hood  0
                        |            /
 (passenger tire)       |-----------/   (driver's tire)
                        |          /

He had hooked the steering control rod from my car and had ripped it straight off. My driver's side wheel was now leaning 45 degrees with respect to the ground. He said, in a Dude Where's My Car-esq manner, "Dude, I totally screwed up your car, man! I am so totally sorry!!" My car looked totally gimpy.

I told him not to worry about it and he told me I was being so, "totally cool," he put my car up on the lift and I rode with him and my car back to Gopher Towing HQ. En route he told his dispatcher what had happened to the "stuck car," he told her he "broke the stuck car," and that he was on his way to drop it off to the shop. He turned to me and told me they would pay for everything.

I arrived at their shop and got a neat tour of the, "inner sanctum," as he called it. He also told me that I could call him Josh. Josh, the tow kid, asked me if he could drop me off anywhere and I told him it would be great if he could drop me back off at my girlfriend's appartment so I could arrange transportation.

The rest of the story is awfully drab, but it was well executed drabness. Josh's boss called me and told me that my car would be fixed the very next day, no matter what. He also told me I could borrow a car if I wished. I declined the offer and prepared for the worst. To my suprise, everything turned out okay. I actually did get my car back the very next day.

Considering they needed to get a specific VW part, repair the car, and align the wheels, I was very impressed.

What's the moral?

Don't park where the snow-plows are going to plow you in and if you evey get towed by Gopher Towing, consider it an honor.

Unless, you get impounded. That sucks no matter what.