Ok.. I gotta tell you..I was on a cloud of feel good " I am the COOLEST mom" trip Friday afternoon..Ya see, hubby and I decided we would take the 2 youngest boys to the Crawfish Boil in downtown Birmingham..They were SO EXCITED! There were 4 bands that night that just happen to be some of the boys favorite bands..The tickets were $25 a person and to be honest, to see 4 of their fav groups, it was a GREAT value!
The performances were great! I saw tons of drunk people and even a few drunk teens we knew.. I guess their parents werent as cool as we were and they knew they could come to a function like the Crawfish Boil all tanked up and no one would know..
I was so excited to see 3 Doors Down, personally..I also liked Candlebox and Seether too..I really dont care for the rap stuff but was familiar with T-Pain's stuff because my kids always play it in the car..I will have to be honest with you here, T-Pain was the BEST performance of the night..The sound was awesome and they just put on one heck of a show..I enjoyed all the performances but T-Pain was, by far, the most entertaining..
Oh and one more exciting moment: Todd, my 11 year old and a friend pushed their way up to the front row before T-Pain and stayed there until 3 Doors Down had almost finished..Now, dont think I just let my baby run wild at this event..He was with another 11 year old boy that had a cell phone and we were in constant contact with them.. lol..
With all this feel good-ness going on, you would have thought we had some awesome memories, right? WRONG..It was great up until this moment: We were walking to the car and as we walked up to where the lot was, we noticed that the lot was empty..Then we realized that our car was no where to be found..Then we noticed that there were wreckers all over the lot with cars loaded up on them..That was when we realized that OUR CAR HAD BEEN TOWED!!!!!!!
At this point, we saw a female police officer and she looked extremely irritated..My husband said " What is going on?" She pointed to a woman and said " Talk to HER" So he did..She then proceeded to tell hubby that she was the lot managerwe were parked on Private Property..And that there was a sign posted that stated it..WHAT? When we pulled into the lot, there was a line of cars before us and behind us..There were people walking all over the place and cars everywhere..I NEVER once saw a sign that said that..I had looked before we parked and did not notice any along the street..
So, there we were..Me, my hubby an my 11 and 14 year old sons..STRANDED in downtown Birmingham, on the worst side of town at 11:30 at night..No car, my cell phone was in my purse, which was in the car and my hubby's cell phone was about dead at the time..There was another male police officer on the lot , who was pretty much standing by the "lot manager" the whole time..I am sure it was to protect her.. It was at this time that I noticed the number of people that were also stranded..All kinds of people..There were numerous groups of teenage girls, huddled together , crying..Probably scared to death..I cried some myself..I felt SO HELPLESS! I am sure the teenagers had no idea what to do..I know I didnt!
Hubby and I were irate, and for a good reason..We told the lady that she made a huge mistake..She didnt just tow peoples cars..She left people STRANDED..FAMILIES stranded..CHILDREN stranded..SHe then tried to justify her action by shooting back that she had to leave her family to come out there..Whatever.. We were getting ABSOLUTELY NO WHERE WITH THAT WOMAN..So then we tried to talk to the police officer and asked him what we should do NOW..He pretty much didnt care..He got an attitude and asked us if we saw a sign posted about the parking lot being private property..It was posted where we drove in..To be honest, we never saw a sign..There were people all over the place..The officer then proceeded to tell hubby that we drove over a barricade to get into the lot, which was a lie..We told him there was nothing barring anyone from parking there..People were lined up to get into this lot..We told him we had parked on the grassy looking area, not the paved area..That was when the lot manager said that thanks to US, SHE was going to have to spend $5000 to RE-SOD the lot..WHATEVER.. There was NEVER any sod in that lot..It was nothing but dirt and weeds..
This is where this whole story got REALLY messed up..The officer then told us that someone was charging people $5 to park in the lot ILLEGALLY..He then said he was now under arrest..Ok.. So here is what happened..Lot manager found out someone was charging people to park, so she got irate and decided to have all the cars towed..Makes NO SENSE whatsoever..
The officer walked away and left us there to figure out what we needed to do..Steve got in touch with Whit, who was still in a parking deck at the Crawfish Boil with his friends..They drove over to the parking lot and we realized that only one of us could ride to the place where our car was due to the fact that Whit was riding with 3 other boys and they were in a Mustang..Steve stayed back at the lot with the boys and I left with Whit and his friends..
The place that had my car was called B and G Automotive..It was located off of Arkadelphia Road , not the safest place in the city..I got out and stood in line to pay the $200 that we were told it would cost to get car out..Right before the boys drove off someone told us that it would cost $200 in CASH..No debit cards, checks or credit cards..CASH! Whit took my ATM card and went to get cash while I stood in line..He ended up going to 4 different ATMs before he got the cash..Once again, I remind you, NOT ON THE SAFEST SIDE OF TOWN..And anyway, WHO has that much cash on them? Seriously!
The atmosphere at B and G Automotive was one of anger and nervousness..All the people there were angry and felt very violated..No one knew the lot was Private Property..I never saw a sign, alothough we found out later they were posted..Usually, if you dont want anyone to park in your lot, you put up chains or a barricade with numerous signs.. There was none of that..People were very angry..One guy got his car back and when they brought it to him, the tire was flat..The rims touched the ground! He was extremely angry..Some Stone Cold Steve Austin looking guy that worked for B and G Automotive tried to back him down, telling him basically to shut up..The guy ended up filing a report with the Birmingham Police Department.. Another car had the front part of it lowered from the tow truck..
A woman called Fox 6 news and a reporter took everyones names and numbers down for a possible story..I finally got my car at 1 am, roughly..I headed back to the Sheraton Hotel next to the BJCC, where Steve and the boys had walked to from the lot..We got home about 2 am. Steve told me about the people that were left at the lot..There were still like 20 at that time..He told me about a guy that had come to the Crawfish Boil with $250 on him..He spent $50 for him and his girlfriend to get in, $25 on gas and has$175 left..He found his car on a tow truck still there when he got to the lot..He offered the $175 to the tow truck driver and he refused to give his car back to him and LEFT him and his girlfriend there at the lot..With no way to get his truck..Pathetic..
So anyway, this is how my cool and fun Friday night turned out.. I dont think I ever want to go to another event in Birmingham EVER AGAIN!
Oh and one more thing to rub a little salt in the wounds: the next night, the same lady that had all our cars towed was charging people to park there..She told a reporter at NBC13 that she had "Learned from her mistakes the night before".. Her mistake cost me and about 150-200 people $200 dollars each..That means that towing company made $30-40K that night ALONE..