Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An emergency road service ordeal February 5, 2011

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN a hassle-free situation. That is why we have emergency road service coverage through our auto insurance. It is for times like this—when the car breaks down and you are stranded.

That happened to our eldest daughter Friday evening as she was leaving her St. Paul office for the commute to her Minneapolis home.

When a light came on in her car and when she had difficulty steering, she quickly got off the road and pulled into a convenience store.

Getting a tow truck should have been easy, worry-free, as promised by the insurance company. It was anything but.

A call to the insurance company came with a promise that help was on the way. But, as the minutes ticked by and no tow truck arrived, my daughter called to check on the reason for the delay.

She was told the tow truck driver couldn’t find her, although she was at a busy convenience store just off Interstate 94 and had specified her exact location. The driver, claimed, however, that he couldn’t find her. He was from Columbia Heights, not St. Paul.

So my eldest, by this time frustrated, called a St. Paul towing company.

They were “really nice,” she told me when phoning to update me on her situation.

Well, “Minnesota Nice” soon changed to “Minnesota-Not-So-Nice.” The driver first asked for $90 cash to pay the towing fee.

Who carries $90 cash?

Not my daughter.

Instead, he accepted her credit card, which, for whatever reason, wouldn’t work.

So she asked if he would take a check. He would. She wrote out a check and was already en route to Minneapolis with a friend who had come to her rescue when her cell phone rang.

It was the manager of the towing company saying the firm could not accept her check and would be towing her car back to the convenience store.

What would you do?

Probably exactly what my daughter did. She explained that she was not trying to rip off the towing company, that she had plenty of money in her bank account. It didn’t matter, so she headed back to the convenience store to use the ATM which the towing company rep told her was located there.

She withdrew $90 cash, paid the tow truck driver, ripped up the $90 check in front of him and left, two hours after she first called the insurance company that promised worry-free, drive-and-sign emergency road service.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


2 Responses to “An emergency road service ordeal”

  1. Bernie Says:

    Bless her heart. I hope she complains to her insurance company. Its a handy service to have , if it actually works.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yeah, that’s on her to-do list. She just learned that she faces about a $500 car repair bill. The garage people, at least, have been nice. My husband is an automotive machinist so he’s been helping her out, making sure all the suggested repairs are needed. Now if the car was here, in Faribault, and not St. Paul, he could probably do some of the work, but…it’s not.

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