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Kevin O. Montalvo, tow truck driver and drag racer (MA)


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WORCESTER - At 25, Kevin O. Montalvo has already worked for more than a decade, with his latest job towing for Early’s On Park Avenue while caring for his 61-year-old father, who has diabetes and lives with him.

Always a fan of trucks, towing cars and drag racing, he started his own towing company a few years ago with the help of his older brother out of his home in Southbridge, where he grew up after he purchased a flatbed for $11,000 while also working in Boston loading and unloading and taxiing airplanes full time for American Airlines.

His parents, originally from Puerto Rico, worked in factories most of their lives, he said. Mr. Montalvo’s first job was at 15 working for a buddy’s landscaping business mowing lawns on the South Shore.

Also a big sports fan, the Southbridge High School graduate plays softball, flag football and drag races, traveling the East Coast and beyond to compete.

He is also close with his young niece and nephew, who visit often from Puerto Rico.


Why did you start your own towing company?

“I always liked trucks and towing cars and I am big into drag racing. I loved cars a lot, and a friend who is a mechanic, I would see a tow truck show up and thought, ‘I want to do that.’ I saved a lot of money and bought a flatbed for $11,000 and tried fixing a few things on it to meet DOT (state Department of Transportation) standards to pass inspections.

“I did it for about eight months, but it didn’t work out. Next time I’ll try it, I’ll have better sources. It is a lot of money and I’d rather buy a house before I start a business and potentially fail again.”


What motivated you to start your own business?

“I’ve always been a working person. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old. A close friend of mine allowed me to work with him and we used to drive to the South Shore every day to do landscaping at his buddy’s business. It was my first summer job mowing lawns at the South Shore and I’ve been working since.”


How do you like working for a larger tow company in Worcester?

“It is good working for Early’s. It is a great company with good people. We work with the local and state police and AAA. It could be fatals, picking up stolen cars or recoveries. We picked up a car the other day and you could see skin on the front windshield still from a kid on a bike who got hit by a car. He was OK. It’s tough at first, but we’re there for our job. We have to take the car no matter what. Some accidents you go to, you think, ‘Hopefully, they are OK.’ I’ve gone to a couple of rollovers. We see a little bit of everything - people running through red lights and T-boning people. Our service calls are all over the place. All over the map.”


What is the worst call you went on?

“The worst one I have been on was a motorcycle accident. The bike was pretty mangled. That is scary because I ride my own bike. He made it, but he was really hurt and had a long road to recovery. I am sure people who have been there longer picked up worse at some pretty scary accidents.”


What is the weirdest call you went on?

“At 3 in the morning, this crazy guy was on his truck and said he was cutting wood at 3 a.m. I got there and had to tow a truck and trailer full of wood. We came in the next morning and he was sleeping in his truck on my truck bed. A few of the drivers asked him to leave the property, but he wouldn’t leave and we finally got the police involved to get him out.”


What is the most challenging part of your job?

“Most of the time we see crazy stuff and deal with crazy people during snowstorms. When we do snow tows, we get some weird people coming in there. In the winter, we get calls for snow tows during the parking ban in Worcester. If a police officer puts a ticket on car, we’re allowed to tow it, and the police say, ‘Come get them.’ When people come to Early’s for their car, they get mad at us because they think it is our fault and they try arguing with us about it to try to get discounts. Some try to steal their cars out of the lot and we have to watch the cars overnight. Other drivers have experienced firsthand people attacking them or getting in their face and yelling at them.

“It can also be stressful if it’s busy. There can be people waiting a long time for calls or we can be there pretty quickly. I did a call one time at 2:30 and it came in at 11 because the calls kept coming in and it was super busy. You can tell they’re upset because they don’t want to wait that long. I wouldn’t want to wait that long. At the same time, I understand where the tow company is coming from.”


What do you like about towing?

“I love towing and helping people out. We help a lot of people, actually. The other day, an older lady lost her brakes on an off-ramp on 290. The car came to a stop right here on Park Avenue on the main road. I picked her up and she gave me a hug. She was a nice lady. I just like helping people out and I like the challenge it brings.”


Can you tell me about drag racing?

“I’ve been building my own car for a year. I’ve put a lot of money into it. My buddies have cars and my son’s godfather owns a race car and I go with him all the time. My dad always would go with his father as a child, and later, I tagged along with them and got really into it. I drag race in New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Florida. I’m going to Florida at the end of October to go drag racing for four days. You have to find the right people. There are a lot of competitors in different categories.”


Where do you play softball?

“I’ve been playing softball for three years in Southbridge. I had Early’s sponsor me this year. Everybody at the field says, ‘Hey, it’s Early’s towing,’ so it works out. Sometimes we get a call if they ever need a tow.”

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