The Boot Girls are saving drivers in Atlanta from the city’s expensive and challenging parking enforcement industry.
The balaclava-clad duo have garnered over 85,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok with videos that capture them removing boots from the wheels of happy drivers all over Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood.
According to NPR, Boot Baby who rocks a black balaclava and Boot Sheisty, Baby’s pink face masked partner in crime, make some serious cash from their boot removals. The pair charge customers $50, which is way cheaper than the $75 fee that the city’s parking enforcement agencies would charge. Here’s everything we know about The Boot Girls’ success story.
The key to stardom.
The parking saviors started their business after Boot Sheisty’s car got booted while visiting her business partner in April.
“She lives in an apartment complex, so I registered my car. I ended up staying the night and came out to a boot on my car. That pissed me off,” Sheisty told Atlanta Hot 107.9 during an interview earlier this month.
Instead of paying the parking enforcement company to have the boot removed, the duo called up their friend Christian Verrette, owner of the ATL Booty Key, to unlock the device. That’s when the ladies got the bright idea to buy their own keys and kick start their very own business.
The dirty booting industry.
The Boots Girls’ business is booming, too. Shiesty and Baby average about 40 boot removals per day. It’s not illegal to own a boot key in Atlanta but using a boot key to tamper or modify a booting device can result in serious charges such as criminal trespass, theft of services, theft by taking or second-degree property damage.
During the interview, the booting saviors said they are extra careful to conceal their identities and protect themselves when they’re out on the job. They carry their boot keys, cellphones and have pepper spray handy in the event of an emergency. They also have their attorney on speed dial to handle any legal disputes if they do arise.
The modern day Robin Hoods are fighting back against the corrupt and lucrative booting industry that is causing drivers a lot of headaches in the big peach. Attorney Matt Wetherington applauded the duo for their work to stop “piracy” from running rampant among booting companies.
“In Atlanta, the booting companies are city council-sanctioned pirates that act as judge, jury and sometimes executioner for perceived parking violations,” Wetherington, whose been fighting back against the industry for over a decade told NPR. The legal aid noted that around 100,000 boots are placed by parking enforcement companies around Georgia every year.
What’s next for The Boot Girls?
The Boot Girls’ buzzing work could help to pass a bill introduced by state senators Josh McLaurin and Republican John that would ban booting across Georgia. Wetherington strongly believes that the legislation will pass in 2024.
“[U]nlike previously, there’s a little bit more momentum this time around, thanks in part to the Boot Girls, the Atlanta based attorney added. “In what other instance could you ever imagine, where you have someone who says, ‘I will charge you $50 to give you back access to your property’ and then turn into a celebrity? Just think about how messed up that is for our city. It shouldn’t be that way. But that shows you just how bad and just how pervasive booting is in Atlanta.”
The Boot Girls show no sign of stopping soon. The Atlanta duo are working on a podcast, a merchandise line and are looking to hire new recruits.
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