There once was a group of roommates and across from them lived a hypocrite we’ll call “Howard.” This isn’t a fairy tale, but revenge is sweet and so are fairy tales, so here we go! Howard was on the HOA in this neighborhood. And these four roommates had no idea what they had moved into. They were new to the area It seemed nice enough with “cookie-cutter town homes” that all had “garages that opened onto streets that wind through the community.” No one had a driveway, just the garage that was right on the street. However, there was some available parking off to the side of the community.
“Sean” and his roommates had to figure out the parking situation since they each had a car. Anyone who has lived in an apartment or community knows how terrible parking can be. This place was no different and they figured that out pretty fast. There were some parking spots in the small lot, but they would often be filled with guests and the only alternative was street parking. This did not seem like a viable option since it left the cars vulnerable to theft. It's not hard to see why someone would choose to park anywhere else but the street. Their cars could be stolen, vandalized, etc. So Sean and his roommates utilized their garage to the fullest extent, but they “all had tons of sporting equipment, so they could usually only get one car in the garage.” That left a few cars in need of space. And so when they could not find a space in the parking lot, they would “park the cars right up against the garage and leave them there during the day or overnight.” And if the other neighbors were doing it as well, what was the problem? Apparently, it was a huge problem for Howard. And he was going to make sure they knew it.
Soon after they moved in and had begun settling in, Howard made his first appearance. The roommates were in the garage unpacking, minding their own business when he walked himself up to them. He told them “it’s against community rules” to have a car parked against the garage like that. Howard left no room for argument before adding, “And if you do it again, I will personally make sure you’re towed.”
“His first comment was pretty reasonable.” Sure, they should move their car if it was against the HOA policy. And if he had left it there and complied, we wouldn’t be telling his story. But of course, he went on. As if it was his personal responsibility in life or in the community to have the new neighbor’s car towed. What about all the other residents who were doing the same thing? Was he just going to ignore them? One of Sean’s roommates assured Howard that they had no idea about the rule prior to that moment, and they “wouldn’t park there overnight anymore.”
Of course, Howard had to have the last word, which was, “Good. You better not because I’ll be watching.”
Howard, that’s creepy and unnecessary.
Sean and his roommates made sure to follow this rule and moved the car before nighttime, to avoid Howard’s wrath. Was he serious though? Or was this just a bluff to intimidate the newbies?
It seemed like hazing. And he was serious about it. Howard had obviously wanted them to slip up. And when they did, it started a battle Howard didn't know was coming.
The mistake was made by one of Sean’s roommates. He was just swinging by to grab a few things before heading back out. And as it was only 7:00 pm (not night time yet), “he just parked up against the garage as it would be quicker than the parking space.” While it could have been quicker he never got to find out because “around 8:00 pm he went to head out and his car was gone.” In the car’s place, there was Howard. I can imagine a smug grin on his face, maybe arms crossed while he observed his handiwork and said, “Told you, you were going to get towed if you parked here again.”
The roommate didn’t want to go down without a fight, so they “argued for a bit before the roommate came back inside and called the car lot.” Unfortunately, the car lot was closed and he would have to wait to get his car. The even more frustrating thing was they had a fee for keeping the car overnight. “All in all it came out to $500 which wasn’t a small amount of money” for the roommates. This was awful because $500 isn't usually a small amount for anybody! Especially when you're not expecting it. There were four people living together, I'm sure they weren't the wealthiest of residents. And yet one of their cars was now locked up in a car lot until morning.
Howard had singled out the group of new residents and they were not too happy about it. The group decided the best course of action was to read the community guidelines to see what they had missed. After all, if you're going to play the game, read the rules. Interestingly enough, Howard was both right and wrong about the parking rules. This was going to get interesting.
It turns out that “no one is supposed to park there at any point during the day,” since “in front of the garage [was] actually considered a fire lane.” Howard was not a nice guy and had crossed a line. Even though he was right about not parking the car in that place, he had taken it upon himself to get the car towed without consulting with them at all. And he had just been awful about it, turning his nose up at them. It is understandable that Howard would enforce rules in the community as he was a member of the HOA, but this seems a bit overkill. All of this and then add that the roommates “could hear him yelling at his wife every night,” and Sean wanted some vengeance.
Conveniently, Sean worked remotely and had his work area set up in front of some windows that overlooked the street out front. Howard’s garage was in clear view while Sean was working. How convenient. Now Sean could keep a lookout for ideas for his revenge plan. Well Well Well, was that Howard’s car parked in front of his garage? It was! This was too good. “For about two weeks Sean noticed that he would come home around 1:00 pm and leave again at 2:00 pm.” What a hypocrite! Howard was on the HOA, he would have known that the rules stated no cars could be parked there overnight or during the day! This was all Sean needed to start his plan. It was time to give Howard a taste of his own medicine.
“On Monday, true to [Howard's] schedule, he stopped by around 1:00 pm.” Sean watched and “after about 10 minutes gave the tow company a call.” He told them where the car was parked so they could come and tow it from the fire lane. It was a hazard after all! Soon after, the tow truck grabbed the car and left, taking it to the car lot. Now, who has the smug grin now? Howard should have thought twice about bullying the new neighbors!
It did not take long for Howard to realize something was off. He realized his car was gone and “started to yell back into his house, presumably at his wife.” This was just more evidence that he was a terrible person. He tried to intimidate the new people and he yelled at his wife any time he could. This guy deserves whatever Sean dishes out.
Later that evening Howard came back with his car. He probably had to pay a pretty penny to break his car out of car jail. Sean had a great time, but he “wasn’t done yet,” because Howard “apparently didn’t learn the first time.”
It was Tuesday and at the same time as the past couple of weeks, Howard parked in front of his garage again. Sean called the tow company again. Anyone else chuckling? He gave the same description and not long after they towed Howard’s car again. “Again, Howard came out, realized his car was gone, yelled at his wife, and then went to get it.”
For a couple of weeks, Howard played by the rules. But that didn’t last very long before he started parking in front of his garage again. Oh, Howard, if only you listened to the rules you pretend to enforce! Sean saw Howard pull up and “being the concerned resident he was, he immediately called the tow company.” And Howard’s car was taken again! And of course, when he realized, Howard started screaming at his wife. This guy just can't get over himself.
Sean felt sorry for Howard’s wife since she was the one getting yelled at even though none of it was her fault. Sean knew that the whole ordeal had cost Howard “over $1k” for being a prick and not following the HOA rules. Being on the HOA should not exempt someone from following the rules. And what about everyone else parking in front of their garages?
If Howard hadn’t been a bully to the new neighbors, it would have saved them all a lot of money and a lot of time. Lots of other neighbors in the community had been parking their cars in front of their garages this whole time. And this was weeks in the making! And yet, Howard had decided to target the new guys, and Sean wasn’t going to let Howard think he could treat them like that. Sean enjoyed seeing Howard’s car getting towed while the other neighbors also parked the same way. All the while, Howard had no idea who was getting his car towed. Sean didn't know whether to stop there or keep going. The wife was a victim in this whole thing and didn’t deserve to be treated that way, so would it be unfair to her if he kept calling the tow company? Sean thought that she was sweet and hoped that she would leave Howard soon. If she hadn’t been such a nice person, nothing would have stopped him from calling the tow company every day.
We can only hope that Sean never gave up on teaching Howard a lesson, even if it wasn’t with getting his car towed. Also, we hope that the wife was able to get away from him and be happy since it seems almost too much to ask that Howard change and become a nicer, kinder human being. Some people need a reminder that they are not the king of the world. We are all just humans, none of us better than the other, right?
What do you think? Was Howard in the right when he first got one of their cars towed? Was Sean right for getting Howard’s car towed three times?