A young man in our lives just moved himself to Texas. He has little or no family support; he's here on his own, trying to get a new start on life.
He drove here in a car he spent a long time earning the money for and fixing up. And within a couple weeks of his arrival, a hit-and-run driver ran a red light and totaled that car. Because he could only afford liability insurance, our young friend just completely lost that car he worked so hard for.
So, he worked more to earn the money for another car, which he bought from a local guy in his home. He later realized that the title of the car only has the man's signature -- his wife was co-owner and needed to sign the title, too. But the man now insists that our friend never paid him; he won't let his wife sign the title until he gets paid for the car again.
Soon the car's registration will run out, and he can't get it legally registered without the title signed. Our friend's only recourse, it seems, is taking the man to small claims court -- which, of course, costs money he doesn't have.
But the immediate issue is getting the car back into his possession. While parked overnight in his apartment complex -- with his parking decal sticker in the window -- the car was towed by the towing company (Bexar Towing, for you locals) that the apartment complex hires to monitor its lots.
After a bunch of rigmarole to get them to give him access to the car (because his proof of ownership was in the car), he showed the towing company employee the parking decal in the window as they walked to the vehicle. Hmm, the guy said. Well, let me talk to my manager and get back to you.
And the next day, they produced a photo from the man who towed the car -- a photo that shows our friend's car with no parking decal. How did this happen, our friend asked, when you yourself saw the decal in the window when you finally gave me access to the car?
Oh, I didn't see a decal, the man says. You must have put that there after I let you in.
(Again, Bexar Towing Company, people. They have an F with the Better Business Bureau . . . many complaints for similar issues . . . they have more complaints than any towing company in the county . . . they were fined $19,000 by the state a couple years ago. In other words, we believe our friend.)
Again, the only apparent recourse is taking them to court. (Unless he wants to pay the $200 plus $20 per day for every day the car has sat in their lot while they gave him the run-around.) And again, going to court costs money the boy doesn't have.
Two observations here. First, this is why so many young men from troubled backgrounds become thugs. They are targeted, taken advantage of, and have no resources to protect themselves or fight back. They quickly learn that to survive, they have to get the "bad guys" (whoever they might be out there) before the bad guys get them.
And secondly, this is why the church needs to be the church. The Biblical admonition is to help widows and orphans, but the principle there is to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Bear each other's burdens. This is a burden our friend can't bear, and luckily a lawyer at our new church home has offered to help him out. (We don't yet know the extent of that help or the cost, but it's a start.)
I'll add a third observation: I'm angry. So angry. Our young friend is trying to be responsible, trying to get his life together, trying to do everything right . . . and he keeps getting screwed over. I can't stand it anymore.