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Tow Truck Driver Hustles Hard with His Sights Set on Driving Big Rigs

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone working as hard as 27-year-old Yamil Villafane, a driver who runs an Orlando-based towing service.

“I always liked trucks when I was a kid,” he said, “and I wanted to buy a semi truck or tow trucks. I saved enough money to buy a tow truck and ever since that I’ve been doing towing,” Villafane was reported saying.

In September, when Hurricane Ian made landfall in southern Florida, he knew that there would be hundreds of thousands of vehicles in need of a tow, and such steps can be difficult for people to navigate in the aftermath of the storm.

CARFAX estimated 358,000 vehicles were damaged by Ian. That’s a lot of towing!

There was so much work, in fact, that Yamil had to live in his truck for the first couple of weeks after the storm when hotels were often filled with first responders.

“This is not for everybody,” Villafane said while on the road one day. “You have to be really disciplined to be out here. ‘Cause there’s no hotels, so there’s nothing else I could do, just take my truck and look for a place I could stay so I can lay my head down. And then I had to go to the gas station so I can shower.”

In those first couple of weeks his days were a frenzy of taking one job after another and jumping right back on the road, and ending his day curled up in the cramped space of his cab parked next to 18-wheelers getting only about 3 hours of sleep a night. He often chose work over sleep, deciding the hustle was worth it as he averaged 5-7 vehicles per day with the help of an uncle who drives one of the three trucks he owns.

Villafane has owned his business for 7 years and says that in his early days, customers often took advantage of him, paying less than they agreed. Nowadays, he still offers discounts from time to time, but decides on a case by case basis and is always prepared to keep a vehicle tethered to his tow truck if a customer tries to underpay, especially if he believes they are capable of paying the agreed-upon price.

What keeps Yamil so motivated?

From the time he was a kid, he always liked trucks. He always wanted to buy a semi truck or tow trucks. He saved enough money to by his first tow truck and has been towing ever since, with his job and lifestyle affording him the opportunity to travel. While living in Philadelphia now and sometimes staying with his parents in Orlando, he’s sited as saying that he’s been all the way to Canada and back to 40 towns throughout about half of the nation.

What’s next for Yamil?

“I’m planning on buying a semi so I can go cross-country,” he says, but more than that, his core motivation is his son.

Villafane explains that his son was born premature, at only 6 months of gestation.

“His weight was one pound.” His son, now 6, still has a feeding tube. “But he’s getting there,” he says.

“I’m trying to leave my son a million-dollar company and a million-dollar house,” Villafane says, “so when he gets older, he’s good. He doesn’t have to look for a job or nothing. Because he has his own business.”