NEW TIMES: What’s best about being a tow truck driver?
BAUMGARTEN: Just knowing that you’re helping people that are in a bind—people always express gratitude when someone comes and saves the day.
NEW TIMES: What’s worst about being a tow truck driver?
BAUMGARTEN: Working in the rain, because even though people are still always grateful, you have to deal with driving around all wet and soggy afterward.
NEW TIMES: What’s the best tip you’ve received from a customer?
BAUMGARTEN: I once towed a car owned by comedian Howie Mandel to his house in North Hollywood, and when I got there he gave me a $300 tip. That certainly made the drive back a lot easier to take.
NEW TIMES: Are there any types of people that are particularly troublesome to tow truck drivers?
BAUMGARTEN: Generally it’s the people who’ve parked their cars illegally, as well as those with invalid registration when we work with the sheriff’s department to round those cars up. Even though they’ve broken the law, they still feel like you’re the one who’s in the wrong and they can get pretty nasty.