Art is Tow Truck Driver in Latest "Do My Job!"

March 8, 2012 -

Talk about a "crash course" in wrecker operation. Within 15 minutes of meeting my mentor I was behind the wheel!

My first reaction: "I've never driven a tow truck before. I'm just about to...pray!"

George Harper, who's co- owner of Mauldin's Towing in Tallahassee, is a trusting soul, and a man of action. We grabbed this disabled Ford Explorer, and in no time we were unstrapping tires... ("untie this...then pull this? ")...lowering the boom, and saying adios to the satisfied customer.

Andy Branch seemed impressed: "You did it here in one piece. That's all that matters."

George and his wife Nancy are the heart of Mauldin's. She handles the phones and customers.. George and the other drivers do the towing.

So is their marriage a wreck, being together 24/7?

Nancy says, "I love it. He's good to be around. I love it."

"Truly, it's a good thing," chimes in George.

George says Nancy is the best thing that's ever happened to him.

"We've been married 25 years the fourteenth of this month," he says confidently. Like most men the actual dates of those romantic milestones are a little fuzzy, but Nancy has to straighten out the facts.

"He has it wrong. We've been together 25 years. We've been married 22 in July."

Our second mission sent us out to snag a Nissan. I backed up carefully to the front of the car, but what I couldn't see was that the arm had already contacted the tires. Instead of stopping, I was shoving the car back...but no harm, no foul!

Time to raise the boom and strap the tires. "Oops...too far?"
(Art ratchets tire strap)

Like a fighter pilot we go through a checklist before we roll.

"Turn your PTO off."
"PTO off!"
"Beacon on."
"Beacon on!"

Towing this baby over a rutted dirt road we had to barely crawl along.. or risk popping a hole in the car's oil pan.

George has had some dangerous calls over the years, like the drunken college co-ed who stabbed him in the arm with a pen, and the guy who didn't like his driveway blocked and attacked with a forklift!

"When he got mad he went in the backyard and got a forklift and tried to shove everything back into Centerville Road!" says George.

My next challenge was maneuvering our crippled car into a parking spot.

George makes sure I get it right: "Turn it back the other way,Turn it hard, hard, hard!"

I asked George about some of those predatory towing companies that gouge customers. He knows they're out there, but says he goes the extra mile to give people a break.

"No one needs to get rich off someone's misfortune."
So how far has George gone for a tow? Try Cincinnati! He warned the customer it'd be expensive, but they insisted. The bill?

"Around $1,700."

George and Nancy made the trip together...non-stop and loved the scenery.

It was gorgeous country. Well, I didn't care for Ohio," says George.
After we wrapped up the last job, I asked my boss how I did.

He actually seemed proud of me. "You did really good. You actually managed to back a car into a spot without tearing anything up."

Yep, George thinks I've got the right stuff . Who knows, maybe I'll pull up to your car one day and ask, "Need a tow?"

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  • by X Mom Location: Tallahassee on Mar 8, 2012 at 06:55 PM
    My son was a tow truck operator for a while before he got wise and went back to school, and I can assure you that Art's experience is NOTHING like these guy's have to go through on a day to day basis. The average tow truck driver's just is twenty fold harder than shown in this segment...and it only pays minimum wage.
  • by anyone Location: any where on Mar 8, 2012 at 02:43 PM
    I think they need to when handing out their checks to make sure they do not bonce like rubber balls.
  • by Rusty Location: Crawfordville on Mar 8, 2012 at 02:04 PM
    yea they seem like good people when you first meet them. then if you hang around them you will see thier true colors.Don't ever turn your back on them cause thats when they strike.
  • by Sherri Location: Tallahassee on Mar 8, 2012 at 01:05 PM
    Great story! Nancy and George are wonderful people and I'm glad folks in Tallahassee are getting the opportunity to meet them. They really do care about their customers and doing FAIR business. I've done business with them for many years and have personally witnessed their many random acts of kindness. George is a "man of his word" and Nancy is his heart and strength. Thanks for doing this story, Art!
  • by yea i know Location: fl on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:44 AM
    make sure the insurance is up to date.
  • by grannie on Mar 8, 2012 at 09:34 AM
    most pple day don't care about the job. they only care about the ck every wk. i am glad thell is working out for you, its hard to find a job these days, good for you!!!!!!
  • by AWI on Mar 8, 2012 at 06:46 AM
    I'm glad Art did this assignment with a good towing company... not professional parking services, or hobkirk.
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