Letter to the Editor:

It sucks to be taken advantage of. This is especially true when someone manages to take advantage of you, disrespect you, and cost you heaps of money all at the same time. This is, unfortunately, an experience I recently underwent as a result of the City of Indianola’s lovely new 72-hour ordinance.

The ordinance itself is upsetting enough, as it seems nothing more than another way for the city to take advantage of college students and make money.

Even if on principle it made sense, it seems a bit ridiculous to claim that forcing students to move their vehicle slightly every three days will cut down on people leaving abandoned cars on city streets. However, this was the excuse that an officer gave a Simpson student when questioned about the issue.

It was also the reason given to me when my car was towed for being “abandoned” on the street outside my sorority house on Simpson’s campus. I went home for Spring Break after my last class on March 6th, but not before I checked on my car. I found nothing out of the ordinary.

My sister and I rode home together in her car to save gas. I returned to school on March 16th at around 2:30pm and my car was gone.

While an officer at the Indianola Police Department was sympathetic with my situation, he simply told me that they don’t always agree with what the city requires of them, but they just have to do it.

Fine. I paid the tickets that, being gone for break, I never knew I had, and had my sister drive me fifteen minutes out of town to Milo, where they had apparently taken my car.

We found the towing company, Tomlin Towing, with little help from the map that was given to us, and quickly spotted my car.

After all that had happened already, I was less than surprised to find the car buried in at least three to four inches of mud. It was so deep, in fact, that it wasn’t until I paid the one-hundred dollar towing fee and a man began driving my car out of the lot that I realized pieces of my bumper were hanging off the bottom of my car.

Panicking, I quickly ran inside to question the owner about the dragging metal pieces, and he replied that, oh yeah, it was like that when he found it. Shocker. He then proceeded to tell me what I later found was his second lie, saying that he normally has an officer take pictures before he tows the vehicle, but the officer he asked was on call and couldn’t do it.

Next, I hurried back to my sister’s car and called my father to explain the situation.

Meanwhile, the owner and the other man working with him promptly hopped into one of his trucks, which had an SUV on the trailer, and drove off.

I then called the police department in tears and told another helpful police officer what the owner had told me. He explained that what the owner had said wasn’t true, and officers never take photographs for the towing company. He also counseled me, as my father had, to press the issue until I got results.

Five minutes, if that, had passed since the owner had left when he returned with the SUV still in tow. He approached the car with a look on his face that seemed to say “Crap. She’s still here.”

He then proceeded to explain, as if he’d forgotten, that the bumper was only cracked when he found it, and the other piece must have come off from dragging in the mud, and not to worry because he’d fix it right up.

Well, he didn’t. After charging me half my work study paycheck, disrespecting me by lying to my face twice, and breaking my car, the man simply bolted the piece of metal to my bumper so that it wouldn’t drag and proceeded to show me why he thought the bumper was already broken.

Funny thing is, I checked the car before I left for break, and the police, who ticketed my car and requested the tow, did an inventory of the vehicle, and no one noticed that the bumper was cut in half, or that part of it was dragging. It all seems a little strange.

The moral of the story is, I feel very appreciated to pay a great deal of money to go to Simpson, pay even more for a parking pass that I can’t even use, and contribute to many of Indianola’s businesses, only to have my car ticketed, towed, and broken, all while I was gone on Spring Break.

I admit that, no matter how ridiculous I believe it to be, I knew about the ordinance and should have moved the car before break, and I thank the police officers for trying to help.

However, my biggest pet-peeve is when people take advantage of others, and I feel that the city of Indianola takes advantage of Simpson Students and that the towing company tried to take advantage of me.

I would just advise other students or citizens of Indianola to be careful when practicing their right to park on the street that they don’t “abandon” their cars so that the same thing does not happen to them.

-Junior Bailey Harris