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"What does…’towed away’ mean?"

Yesterday during work, I realized I took an odd sense of amusement watching cars getting towed away behind me. Some people just don’t think to read the signs on the parking meters, stating “COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ONLY, 4am-6pm”. So some shmucks decide they would park there, only to later find either a ticket or their car towed away.

There were two cars parked illegally in those spots yesterday, and I was anticipating the tow trucks to arrive. And they did. Except, they only towed away one of the cars, which I found a little confusing. Still, I found myself standing there, feeling amused and slightly evil for finding amusement in someone else’s misery.

Oh, but it was a short-lived evil feeling. When I saw the owners of the towed-away car, they were Asian…worse, I think they were actually Japanese. One guy, a little meek yet cute looking, came up to me and asked, “Ah, excuse me, where did this…car…go?”

Me: “They towed it away.” (smile of pity)
Him: “Ah…what does…’towed away’ mean?”

This question made me feel even worse since he didn’t even comprehend the meaning of the phrase. So I had to think of a way to explain it so he could understand.

Me: “Well, it means…’they’ took your car away, because you are not allowed to park here. Only these (points at commercial vehicle behind me) are allowed to be parked here.”
Him: “Ah, okay.”

I’m not sure if he understood the situation at that point, but he ended up walking back to his two friends/colleagues and they in turn tried to figure out how to fix the situation.

Oh, I felt bad for them.