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The curious case of the ‘courtesy tow’ | Morning Newsletter

And what to know before you head to the airport this Thanksgiving

Good morning and Happy Thursday, one that’s expected to be even nicer than yesterday, with temperatures that could hit 70.

Today’s top story is the latest saga in Philadelphia’s notorious “courtesy towing” policy. This one involves a towing company that can’t be found, a PPA ticket that magically appeared — and Adam Sandler.

Also, as Philadelphia International Airport expects a frenzy of holiday travelers starting tomorrow, we have tips and suggestions so you know what to expect if you’re one of the 400,000 passengers going through PHL.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr,

Imagine walking out to where you parked your car to find it’s disappeared. Then found out it was towed and impounded from a legal spot. Then getting hit with what can only be described as a “ghost ticket.”

Oh, and all this somehow involves the actor Adam Sandler.

All that happened to Center City resident Ryan Layne, who wants to know why his Honda was towed from a legal parking spot and why it cost him over $200 to get it back.

That’s only the start of a story about a mystery tow agency and a whole lot of shoulder shrugs from those in power. Our investigative reporter William Bender has more on when Philly cars disappear.

What you should know today

  1. A depressed teen gunned down by Pennsylvania state troopers had his hands raised in the air, new video shows.

  2. In the aftermath of John Dougherty’s conviction, Laborers District Council leader Ryan Boyer becomes the first Black business manager of the Building Trades Council.

  3. As for convicted City Councilmember Bobby Henon, he tendered his resignation yesterday as chair of a pair of Council committee seats.

  4. JoAnn Epps, Temple’s former provost, took the witness stand for damning testimony in the fraud trial of former dean Moshe Porat.

  5. COVID-19 cases in Philly are on the rise, with only 5% of younger kids vaccinated.

  6. Harrisburg passed a conceal carry bill for those without a permit, but Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to veto it.

  7. Phillies ace Zach Wheeler was edged out by the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes for the National League’s Cy Young Award last night. Tonight, it’s slugger Bryce Harper’s turn as he’s among the favorites for NL MVP.

  8. Our columnist Elizabeth Wellington sat down with Philadelphia poet laureate and freedom fighter Sonia Sanchez to talk about race, class, and the real meaning of family.

  9. Hoping to keep the pounds off this holiday season? Our resident wellness coach offers these timely tips.

  10. Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.

While traffic has been 30% down at the airport, officials there say they are expecting a 15% spike over the Thanksgiving travel period. That means roughly 400,000 outbound passengers between Friday and Nov. 30.

With that in mind, we put together a handy guide of what you can expect and what you need to know before you head to the airport. Here’s a sampling.

When looking for parking … 🚘

  1. 👍 Do: Arrive early and consider an off-site parking lot with shuttle service to and from the airport.

  2. 👎 Don’t: Pull into the airport expecting to park in the economy lot. It no longer exists.

In regards to COVID-19 regulations once you arrive or depart … 🛫 🛬

  1. 👍 Do: Wear a mask from the moment you enter the airport. That also means getting on any buses, shuttles, or car services to and from the airport.

  2. 👎 Don’t: Assume vaccination status including boosters means mask-wearing doesn’t apply.

There are even more tips courtesy of our reporter Catherine Dunn for what to keep in mind from the moment you leave your door until you arrive at your gate.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

Pod, Stephen Starr’s futuristic pan-Asian eatery on Penn’s campus, is getting a rebrand before it reopens for the first time since the pandemic. Today’s question: Do you know the year the restaurant originally opened? The answer, which is in this story from our food writer Michael Klein, might surprise you.

Photo of the day

🥨 Your Essential Philly

We introduced this Thursday segment last week asking you your favorite thing to do in Philly. You didn’t disappoint with your responses. Want to tell us your Essential Philly? Send a reply to, including your name and neighborhood, and we’ll look to feature your response.

  1. Going to the Broad Street Run – as a spectator!” - Brandi, Philadelphia 🏃

  2. Mine would be shopping at the Reading Terminal Market. Back in the early ’80s I lived on Cuthbert Street behind Christ Church and would walk every Saturday morning to the Market, load up with goodies and take the El back home.” - Christina, Camp Hill, Pa. 🛍️

  3. Driving to Roxborough from Pennsport to get a cheesesteak from Dalessandro’s on [an] Eagles game day and then driving back to South Philly for the game.” - Ryan, Pennsport 🦅

That’s all for today. Work isn’t going anywhere, so make sure you get a chance to enjoy today’s temps. Until tomorrow ... ✌️