EL PASO, Texas - Drivers in east El Paso were shocked when their morning cup of coffee led to a $150 boot on their vehicle. Many that frequent the McDonald's on George Dieter and Vista Del Sol are aware with the parking issues that come from that restaurant, often many of them do not find a spot on the lot.
Five drivers felt the brunt of the parking situation Friday as their cars were given boots for parking in the adjacent parking lot -- and those car owners were quick to voice their displeasure.
One restaurant customer said he didn't get fair warning.
"I walk in to get a cup of coffee and the guy says 'you're going to get towed because it doesn't belong to McDonald's'," said Arnulfo Hernandez, after paying the fine to get the boot taken off of his car.
The problem for Hernandez and the others is that they parked in a space that is not designated for McDonald's. It's a move many drivers have done in the past, and many times they just get lucky and had no problem.
That parking lot is owned by Mimco Inc. of El Paso, and it hires National Security to keep the parking lot clean and keep the flow of traffic flowing. Those who work for companies like Earnest Gluck say the rules are clear: Park where you plan to shop.
"As to who is at fault, it's more so the owner or operator of the vehicle," Gluck said. "Very large signage is all along the fence of McDonald's and it says this parking lot is for customers only for business at that site."
Gluck also said that adding a boot to a vehicle is much more convenient than towing one away.
"When you tow a vehicle, a driver usually has to get a ride to the impound lot, show proof of ownership and pay a similar fine," Gluck explained.
When it comes to McDonald's, the general manager told ABC-7 that the restaurant is in the process of negotiating a compromise with Mimco Inc. to get more parking space for customers.
For the time being though, drivers should avoid parking in lots that don't belong to the establishment they're visiting.