Article updated Nov. 13 at 10:40 a.m.
AAA will no longer work with a Rivers Edge Automotive and Towing driver who responded to a service call in Washington and allegedly refused to tow a vehicle with a Biden bumpersticker after a video of the incident gained popularity on social media.
The 18-second video, recorded via TikTok and posted by the account @claudia_silver7 on Twitter at 9:18 a.m. on Nov. 9 with the caption “This AAA employee is refusing to tow a car with a Biden sticker on the vehicle. Let’s make him famous…” shows a man calmly taking off a yellow safety jacket, getting into a Rivers Edge The Dalles vehicle and starting to drive away, while the person behind the camera reads the vehicle’s license plate.
The video had 1.3 million views as of press time.
Twitter comments on the original post clarified that the driver did not directly work for AAA (short for American Automobile Association), but was an employee of Rivers Edge Automotive and Towing, a local business with locations in Hood River and The Dalles that has a contract with AAA. Multiple commenters posted the phone number for Rivers Edge’s location in The Dalles, as well as AAA Oregon/Idaho’s customer contact information, and encouraged others to call and complain about the driver’s behavior.
At 1:24 p.m. that same day, AAA Oregon/Idaho posted a statement on Twitter, reading, “At AAA, we stand for community and for our members. AAA does not tolerate this type of behavior. The tow truck driver at River’s Edge Automotive and Towing has been disciplined by River’s Edge management. AAA is working with River’s Edge to ensure this type of behavior … AAA is working with River’s Edge to ensure this type of behavior does not happen again. We deeply regret the experience and inconvenience to the member.”
“We apologize for the interaction that our driver had with the young men on the video,” River’s Edge President Jason Shaner said in a prepared statement. “There were words exchanged by both parties and the video shows our driver leaving the scene to de-escalate the situation,” Shaner said. The company sent another driver to the scene, who arrived in about 45 minutes, Shaner stated. He added that the 37-year-old company responds to “almost 10,000 calls per year.”
“We’ve placed the driver on administrative leave and will double our investment in inclusivity and diversity training for all employees,” Shaner said. “We strive to serve everyone with care and empathy and respect.”
Said AAA Oregon/Idaho Government Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds, “AAA is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming experience for our members and we take these allegations seriously.”