I just got into LA driving from Dallas for business after working in the New York area. I am was working at the California mart for three days and realised parking on the street was the worst place to park because the signs are really confusing the meters are even more confusing(does not take credit card so you need coins) and its 3.00 per hour with a 1 or 2 hour parking maximum. Or you can go to a parking garage for 3.00 for the whole day. On the 1st day I parked on the street learning this. The next day I found a parking garage and parked from 4p to 6p and when I came back to my car it was slightly moved and dented on the drivers side front. Somebody had hit me and there was no one on duty! So I was not a fan of the garages or the street parking. But what choices did I have? I was driving from 1.5hrs away into the city, so I needed my car. Public transportation looked like a nightmare in the city because of the majority of the people that used public transport did not look like the typical people in New York. It looked dangerous. I was transporting fabric and paperwork that was too much to try to hand carry around so that would not work anyway. I was trying to think of any option to not get me and my car into trouble. On the third day I was working just outside of the garment district so park is very easy, but when I had to go back to the mart just before it turned 5p and everyone closed up that was when this story starts. Like normal I go to the place on the street where I parked before and someone pulled out and I pulled in this was around 4:53p on Thursday, August 26, 2010. I go through my car and see what I really need, and just think "Awh, I don't need anything. I am just going in to get some info from inside. I look at the signs in puzzlement and see that is says "Mon-Fri 9am-4pm" and there are cars all lined down the street and when I parked on the street yesterday in the evening it had the same sign, but in a different area. I could not read those signs either, but someone on the street assured me I could park there after 4pm with no problems, so I did until 10pm and I was thinking same sign same rules. When I came out 11 minutes later from the mart. My car was being towed the parking attendant waited there until the car was towed from the area. I ran for two blocks after them, but I was just too late!
Out of all those signs posted everywhere there was no sign for the towing company or any information. Someone from a store nearby gave me the info and I called in to see what I had to do to get my car back. I had no money, no ID, no nothing. I was lucky to have my cell phone to call them, which turned out to be the police department of LA that has their own tow yard all the tow money goes straight to the city. I guess that is a good thing...?
When asked them if they had my car they said "yes, its in tow." I had Texas plates so obviously I am not from here. When I told them I am not from here, so I do not know how to get there, I asked them if I could walk there, they said "yeah." I further asked about how far it was from the location of where my car was towed" He said "about 3 miles." I said "Ok" and told them I will walk there. Not in a rude way, just like it was something I had to do, since that seemed like the only option. I did not have any money on me, just my phone which had GPS. I was wearing dressy gold and Swarovski crystal sandals and a business-like mini dress. I am a blond white 26 year old just to give you the idea.
When I started the walk, I just noticed everyone looked blue-collar and that did not seem scary to me. I was in the city and I had been seeing this for 3 days, so I did not think anything of it. But within 1/2 a block of walking I started to get hoots and hollers and I just kept my head down and tried to ignore it. I was seeing big groups of thug looking individuals and it was like all the sudden I was in the worst part of any part of the world I had ever seen. I had tried to just keep my head down and focus on all my anger of the way the City of Los Angeles had set this up for people especially for a business area to get towed.
I was not until some guy was saying to me "girl you are fine hunny, lemme git soma that!" and when I had walked by like the rest of them he started to get verbally violent and walking after me saying "yo fuck you then bitch, Ima fuck yo up right now you fucking bitch!" I knew this was way worse than I had expected and looked up and jumped in the first store I saw. I soon as I walked in another guy started to say "damn girl you are too mutha-fuckin fine...." and some other stuff that I was way to disturbed to listen to. I go straight up to the clerk with is a very old overweight Greek woman She looked at me very stoical and just said very slowly "No English, go with him" referring to the guy that was just trying to pick me up with I walking in." I looked at her like she was crazy and I just thought what are my choices. He was walking over and he was covered in big bulky jewelry and had a big chain around his neck with about 40 big rings on it. He was still talking to me like "Uhm, you a fine lady.." I looked at him and looked at his socks and just thought in this neighborhood clean socks must mean something because I have not seen anybody with a pair of clean socks. On that premise, I though its possible that he could actually get me out of here without the worst intentions. I just wanted to get out of this area without being harassed or raped or killed by some druggies. I looked back and asked the old lady (which did speak English) "Is he SAFE?" assuming she knew him somewhat. She just shrugged her shoulders and the only other person shouted repeatedly, "HE BLACK, ain't he!" The guy smiled and I just thought "clean socks."
He walked me down this street and I asked him what is this place and he said "this is SKID ROW, BABY! This is the spot." He was asking me if I had seen some movie that it was based on and said I knew nothing of this place other that "Little shop of Horrors" which he knew nothing of. We walked down this street and I was like I don't think I can walk here can we pick another street???" He looks around and is like "yeah," and laughs as he looks around. I don't even want to describe it.
We walk down some other street and he is talking with everyone and everyone looks like a druggie wasted out of there minds.
As we walk out of town, he tells me to walk on the left side of him, and I say "Oh that is nice, because that is the dangerous side of the street where cars are. Very gentleman." "No, the street side means yo fo sale, and I don't want nobody thinkin' a sweet lady like yous fo sale." "Oh."
Not to drag this story on, but I was shocked and really mad about the whole situation. Once I did not see what I had just seen on the streets any longer, I said my goodbyes and was ready to move on! He insisted on giving me his number and wanted me to pick him up later. I said okay and thanks and I was outta there. Thank God!
All the sudden I am seeing Starbucks and wholefoods and a whole new kind of familiar life all within blocks of each other. Amazing.
I start to cross the street and some angry woman in a huge white range rover tries to hit me and yells out of her car as she speeds past "GET OUTTA THE STREET!" She ran the red light.
I was about a mile away and then in asking group of younger adults where I was, which said they did not know and then offered my some yogurt that they were eating. I guess that was in a effort to console my shaken and angered demeanor. They told me to watch out for a certain gang that walked the area to where I was going. I look down that way and saw more of the people from this nice looking area and thought I think I just survived the worst. I will stop if things look bad again. I passed by the LA jail and everyone screamed and shouted from inside. At the time I had no idea I was walking passed the jail and was a little scared on where that was coming from and why. I finally started to walk in this very desolate area and knew I was very close from the map on the GPS. I was feeling relieved. I only had to pass by some strip clubs and beyond that was the tow yard. Finally!
When I walked in I wanted to give them a piece of my mind, but I wanted my car more so I decided that would not help. However, when I did go in and told them my car was towed and told them the model and told them that I do not have anything on my and it's in the car, Edwin C., the officer at the window said "I am sorry we cannot help you then. You need to have these things.....and pointed to a list on the window" which was all in my car, except for the unsigned title which he then asked for later. It took twenty minutes for him to let him decide for him to let me in my car. He actually suggested that I come back tomorrow. And when I told him I don't have anything on me, no money, he suggested I sleep outside. When I told him to get here I walked through "skid row," he laughing. That was amusing to him and he is a police officer that is suppose to the protect and serve the city and this is what they are here for. He laughs at this.
To walk it took my two hours and then to get the car back it took another additional two hours. Costing 250.00 for the towing and 85.00 additional for the parking ticket that was put in my window when I got to the car.
My real issue was that The City of Los Angeles had towed my car and then when I asked if I could walk to it a police officer said "yes" without adding anything like "don't walk though _____ its dangerous." How was I to know that I would be walking through this?? The only thing I could really to do about this is to take it to someone how either cared about the current situation of things or that could actually do something and explain the problems here.