Better Call Behnken: Mom claims car was booted unfairly while she picked up kids

VALRICO, Fla. (WFLA) — When Valrico Academy and Bell Creek Academy Charter Schools get dismissed, kids swarm the parking lot looking for their parents.

Some businesses complain that they take parking spots away from their customers. So the plaza owner hired PTR Towing to boot parents who hog parking spots.

Angela Jones got caught up in this parking lot war and says she was wrongfully targeted.

“This is unfair and unjust,” Jones said.

Jones says she doesn’t typically pick up her teenage kids after school, but on Wednesday, their sports activities changed. They asked if they could walk to Papi’s restaurant next door to get food. When she pulled in a spot to pick them up, Jones says she was blocked by the tow guys.

“They jumped out of the car and immediately went towards my tire,” she said. “Blocked me in.”

Then came the boot.

“They’re like, ‘You’re going to have to pay me $95 to take the boot off.’ I’m like ‘$95? Are you serious? My kids are purchasing food, what’s the deal?'” Jones said.

The owner of Papi’s tells Better Call Behnken that the kids are customers. Workers at a barber shop in the plaza say they tried to vouch for Jones and that they’ve had a client get the boot, too.

“I understand the point of view of you want to stop the person who comes over here and takes the parking from the clients. I’m ok with that. But do it the right way,” said Pedro Morales.

The owner of the shopping plaza did not return calls. The manager of PTR Towing says he believes his driver and thinks Jones was using the parking spot as a pickup spot. However, he agreed to investigate further and consider a refund.

Jones hopes for a change of heart and feels unfairly targeted.

“This is ridiculous,” she said. “I can understand if they feel that parents from Valrico Academy are parking their cars and leaving their vehicles to get their kids. But I was in my car and my kids were patrons of the plaza.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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