An American In Montana Interview Series: Earl The Repo Man



We recently sat down Earl Whitman, who lives in Three Forks, Montana. And was voted  “Best Repo Man of the Year” by Car and Driver Magazine’s annual survey of collection agencies that deal with property repossession. This isn’t the first time Earl has won this prestige award, three years ago he took home the title as well. We wanted to find out what made Earl so good at his job.


AAIM: So Earl, how old were you when you first started working as a Repo man?

Earl: I think I was about 13, I did the standard paper boy thing and every morning I was out there making sure people got their newspaper. But I hated that part of the job, my favorite part came every Friday when I had to go around and collect the money. Some customers didn’t pay, so I would make them regret that, at first I would give them a warning and if they still didn’t pay I would steal stuff from their house and sell it to get the money they owed. I really liked that part of the business.


AAIM: Wow!? That’s pretty intense, especially for someone so young, did the newspaper company approve of this behavior?

Earl: Well most of the time I didn’t know what I was doing, I had a lot of anger as a kid. And no, I got fired that first week, but I kept collecting every Friday anyways.


AAIM: Oh…So you basically threatened them for money?

Earl: Yeah, I didn’t get an allowance as a kid, so I had to earn spending money anyway I could.


AAIM: Okay, let’s jump forward somewhat, when did you “officially”  start doing this type of work?

Earl: Right after I got out of the Army. I was 23 and was working three or four jobs to make ends meet. Then I saw an ad for Lone Star Credit Services and they hired me on the spot.


AAIM: So what did the job at Lone Star entail?

Earl: Basically I went out to people’s houses and banged on their doors and told people they needed to pay what they owed. I was considered the last resort, if people didn’t respond to the collection letters or phone calls my Boss would hand me their file and say  “You will have to pay these people a visit.”


AAIM: Did you like going to people’s houses, asking them for money?

Earl: I loved it, I still do. It gave me a sense of power over them, and I felt like I could do what I wanted to make them pay.


AAIM: What did you say to people?

Earl: Well it depends, if a female opened the door I would have to be nice and ask her politely for money, but if a guy opened the door, I would usually be a little tougher on them.


AAIM: What do you mean by “tougher?”

Earl: Well I always cared brass knuckles with me, so if the guy gave me any lip I would bust his lips open, then I would drag them out to their yard and kick them a few times until they agreed to give me some money. I had a very high success rate when it came to collecting from dudes.


AAIM: Wow…None of that sounds legal? Did you ever get in trouble?

Earl: No, because I always told the guys I was collecting from that if they called the cops I would pay them a special visit, with my special friend….His name is Glock.


AAIM: So you threatened to kill them?

Earl: I never used those words…


AAIM: Well, I am surprised you haven’t been arrested, to be honest with you.

Earl: My older brother is the Chief of Police, and I have four cousins on the Police force, nobody messes with me.


AAIM: That all seems so illegal.

Earl: So…what’s your point?


AAIM: My point is that it seems like you are abusing the system.

Earl: Well…It is what it is.


AAIM: I’m not sure what to ask now.

Earl: Why don’t you ask me what I do to people who interview me and get me pissed off?


AAIM: I don’t think I want to know the answer to that question.

Earl: I will tell you anyways…I make a phone call, and you get locked up and become bed buddies with your new cell mate!


AAIM: That is not right! You just can’t have me arrested for no reason.

Earl: They will find some stolen items in your car…Thieves get locked up in this town.


AAIM: What?

Earl: Don’t get me mad, you won’t like what happens…Do you understand what I am saying?


AAIM: Yeah

Earl: What’s that?


AAIM: Yes, Sir.

Earl: Yeah, I like that tone much better now.


AAIM: Can we be done?

Earl: How much money do you have in your wallet?


AAIM: What? Why?

Earl: I don’t want to ask you again…


AAIM: I think I have forty dollars.

Earl: Give it to me…Now!


AAIM: (A lone tear streaks down the face)

Earl: Aww…You crying? Are you a crybaby?


AAIM: I just want this to be over, I need to go.

Earl: Give me your watch!


AAIM: My Dad gave me this watch, it means a lot to me.

Earl: It means a lot to me as well…Let’s go crybaby!


AAIM: (Openly Weeping)

Earl: You really are a piece of work aren’t you? Damn crybaby!


AAIM: Can I please leave now?

Earl: Do I need to say it?


AAIM: Say what?

Earl: What will happen to you if you call the police?


AAIM: No…I think I understand, you will pay me a special visit with your special friend named Glock.

Earl: Good…I’m glad I don’t need to say it then….Go crybaby…Run!


AAIM: (Running to the car)

Earl: (Laughing Manically)


AAIM: (Drives away crying)

Earl: (Calls older brother about a car with stolen goods in it)

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