‘Meanest Mom’ Places Car Ad With a Message

Iowa mother sells teen son’s car after finding booze under seat


As far as I can tell, Jane Hambleton is not out of her mind…but she has guts.

After finding alcohol in her son’s car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old’s misdeed with everyone — by placing an ad in the local newspaper.

Why guts? In an alcohol-drenched society pushing the legal drug with everything from beautiful people on TV ads to “happy hour” at local bars, the peer pressure to succumb would be the easy route.

Just scolding her son and grounding him for a bit would be sufficient for most…while the even more liberal…I can hear them now…would say, “Not a good idea, please help yourself to your dad’s liquor cabinet and drink at home.”

Hambleton did none of that. Intead, she ran this ad:

“OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.”

A drastic measure? Perhaps. But it is an ad heard around the nation, if not the world. Any backlash? People are giving her nothing but praise.

This from Associated Press:

The 48-year-old from Fort Dodge says she has fielded more than 70 telephone calls from emergency room technicians, nurses, school counselors and even a Georgia man who wanted to congratulate her.

“The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I’m telling people what happened here,” Hambleton says. “I’m not just gonna put the car for resale when there’s nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision.

“It’s overwhelming the number of calls I’ve gotten from people saying ‘Thank you, it’s nice to see a responsible parent.’ So far there are no calls from anyone saying, ‘You’re really strict. You’re real overboard, lady.”‘

The son and rules are rules

The only critic is her son, who Hambleton says is “very, very unhappy” with the ad and claims the alcohol was left by a passenger.

Hambleton believes her son but has decided mercy isn’t the best policy in this case. She says she set two rules when she bought the car at Thanksgiving: No booze, and always keep it locked.

Ad with a message

The car has been sold, but Hambleton says she will continue the ad for another week — just for the feedback.

Thank you Mrs. Hambleton! You are not the “meanest mom on the planet,” just someone who has shown us how to live, if even for a moment, in a fallen world.

19 thoughts on “‘Meanest Mom’ Places Car Ad With a Message

  1. Fair enough, Jane has laid down the law. Strange though she would choose to benefit a stranger to punish her son. I hope their family spends that money well because someone got a good deal and it wasn’t the Hambleton family.

  2. This 19 year old BOY should be thanking GOD for his Mom and for Her Love. It appears that she cares enough to take corrective action before an Emergency Vehicle is called out to pick up his remains. I’m from Huntsville, Alabama and I watch the nightly NEWS every night and if I were a betting man I would bet that there is an average of 4 to 5 youngsters 15 to 20 years of age that die each Month in vehicle accidents in our television area. Wake up BOY and give your MOM a Long Thank YOU HUG…

  3. Great, we have slipped back in time to Puritan America where public pillorying of evil doers kept crime in check. This woman must have some real issues to expose her child to public ridicule. I would hate to be her husband. I bet her girlfriends know about his every failing . . .


  4. @ Gwenny…a “pillorying” that possibly saved lives…hmmm, nice trade off, especially considering that the ad has very little to do with pillorying or ridicule or humiliation.

    In fact, she was very apologetic in tone…trying to point some of the “pillorying” at herself.

    Funny that many see this move as progressive rather than “Puritan.”

  5. As the mother of a 23 year old daughter and a 21 year old son, I give Mrs. Hambleton a standing ovation. At one point, I too, had to correct by son’s behavior with alcohol. He was caught in the dorm with a can of beer. He was put on academic probation, lost his driver’s liscence for 3 months and had to pay a hefty fine. Those were his punishments from the school and the state. His punishment from Mom was total lockdown every night at 9PM. I told him I would call him every night at 9 PM and he had better be in his dorm room. I called the room phone, not his cell phone to be sure he was where he was supposed to be. He endured this for the entire semester and his friends even made sure they got back to the dorm before his “curfew”. They all reaized that something worse could have happened. He was 18. He still thanks me for “dropping the hammer on him”. He graduates with honors in May!

  6. Right on sister Jane!!! I hope I have her balls when my daughter starts to drive! Too many parents are more concerned with being their kid’s friend than their parent. I had the same issue with my stepdaughter a few years back. Let her use my car to get to school. She was 19. 3 rules – I have to be able to reach you when you have my car, no smoking in the car, and no drinking and driving. When I found ashes on the floor of the car I took it away. She pitched a fit because she said her dad never took her car away. I said, too bad, it’s mine not his. After she started breaking things in the house it took the cops to get her out. All because her dad never enforced any rules. 2 years later it looked like she had her stuff together and was putting herself through SDSU. We provided another car for her to use. She ended up totalling while driving drunk.

    The moral of my story – if we don’t enforce boundaries with our kids, our future society is in for a rough ride because they’ll have no conscience and anything will go.

  7. Could not resist leaving a post. My own email address, chosen by my kids, says it all – “MeanestMommy”. And my first name is also Jane. But I don’t intend to challenge Mrs. Hambleton to a showdown for rights to the title. We should share it, and invite others to join us!

  8. Way to go Jane. You set the limits and you stuck to your guns when the line was crossed. Don’t let anybody tell you to lighten up. As for your son, he should be mad at his friend. Some day he’ll thank you.

  9. B R A V O Jane!

    I shared the article with my 15 yr old son – telling him that Jane in my new hero. He thought the punishment was a bit harsh and added, “don’t worry mom, I’d never do that”
    Let’s hope.

  10. Meanest Mom ?
    Not at all. A bit unconventional yes, but I do not see the harm at all !
    Why is it that we ‘protect’ the feeble souls of every child to the point that they can get away with about anything?
    Part of growing up ( and yes, you are NOt grown up at age 19) is learning that your actions have consequences; sometimes unexpectedly unpleasant ones.
    If the kid is ‘unhappy’… wait until he enters the work force and/or has a family on his own; THEN he learns to be ‘unhappy’ 🙂

    Cheers to the meanest Mom on Earth !


  11. Obviously her son hasn’t learned the consequences that can come from drinking and driving. He hasn’t learned what it means to take responsibility for his actions.

    Two negative events will now happen here: 1: He will find other rides with potentially other dangerous drivers, and 2: He will not go to his parents when he is in trouble. Parents must find the way to communicate consequences of behavior when bad decisions are made, but they also must leave the lines of communication open so the child will call the parents when they are in trouble. And he WILL get in trouble. He will get into a car again with someone who is drinking, and he won’t call for help because he will be afraid to get in trouble. The line of communication has now been severed.

    Further, if another child was involved – if another passenger really did provide the booze – has the mom contacted that family? Surely the passenger’s behavior won’t change; he will simply find another friend to drive him places while they are drinking. I understand what she was trying to accomplish. Perhaps a more effective way would have been to drive him to the police station to talk with an officer, or require him to attend (with her) a lecture from a family that has lost someone to a drunk driver, or even show him the graphic images of people killed because of drinking and driving. There has a to be a lesson in consequence here, and that lesson has to extend beyond the inconvenience of not having a car. The only lesson he really has learned is that he has to be more careful when sneaking around so he doesn’t get caught. His lesson of consequence doesn’t extend in any way beyond himself, and how his selfish, dangerous actions could kill or harm others, and shatter lives.

    I’m a pretty strict mother, but I talk all the time with my kids. As a parent, my goal is to raise kids that are very aware of the consequences of their actions and their personal responsibility to a healthy, safe world. I try to teach them that they have a personal responsibility to making this world a better place than it was before they got here, and that includes demonstrating behaviors that don’t place others at risk.

    Kids need to know that their parents are approachable and are there for them – whether it’s to talk about something good, or to share a bad grade, or when they are older, to call home without fear of retribution when they don’t want to get into a car with someone who is drinking or doing drugs.

    This woman’s son hasn’t learned how his irresponsible actions can affect others – only how they affect himself. And he’s also learned that the one thing he can count on his mother for is public humiliation.

    I definitely would have taken the privilege away by taking his keys, and by restricting his weekend behavior. But I also would have given him a chance to learn from his mistake, and ultimately earn back my trust.

  12. Isn’t it amazing when people are praised for doing the right thing? It just shows you how whacked out our “norm” is. I thanked my parents a longtime ago.(I’m 62) for laying down the law and sticking to it. Was I mad and frustrated at the time? Of course, but I am still here to talk about it. We need more parents like Jane.

  13. Thumbs up to Ms. Hambleton. I found myself in the same situation with my just turned 20-year old and with the same excuse, “It’s someone elses bottle.” Teens do not always understand the responsibility of driving sober let alone drunk. A few months ago a girl in my son’t class got her driver’s license (16 years old), went out drinking. My son said she was totally smashed. She drove home, but didn’t make it. She was in an accident. Having just returned to school after the holidays, she is in a wheelchair. I don’t know the full extent of her injuries, but the wheelchair says alot. To bad her parents didn’t sell the car before this happened.

  14. As a volunteer at Joe D’Maggio Childrens Hospital in Hollywood, Florida I’m seen many children come in from abusive and botched surgeries from all over the world; many from Health Care Workers/Surgeons who shouldn’t have licenses or have operated because they were abusing substances and alcohol when they operated.

    The one other case that was for me worse to see was a little boy who was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk along a major high traffic travelway and had been hit by a drunk driver who had left the seen; but who, it turned out, had had another accident a short distance later. The boy and most of his bicycle was unfortunately out-of-sight from the
    traffic. After hours, and darkness, other children found the little boy and called for EMT help. He was brought in unconscious and with multiple fractures to this hospital.
    At the same time, this boys family were frantically trying to find him. So it was like this, for many hours – just the little unconscious boy and me. I stayed with the boy, in Intercessory Prayer – for many hours (much longer than my ordinary volunteer time). No surgery could be performed on this minor without parental consent.

    Finally, about 8:30pm his parents, with few resources from a poor family, found out where their son was and they came to the hospital and within a very short time he was able to receive the acute, primary treatment care that he needed from this very special childrens hospital. He survived.

    Note: the same local police who had arrested the young DWI adult female, (herself an abused mother) noticed the paint on the boy’s bicycle was the same color as the investigated DWI accident vehicle and they were able to tie in the
    boys accident to that driver and vehicle. In this case, the
    boy and his family could receive the financial support that
    they needed for the boy to be able to achieve a full recovery.

    Alcohol was the cause of the DWI lady’s abuse by her boy friend of her person (and, it turned out of her children, too). It was the direct cause of her own additional abuse of alcohol which also directly contributed to this accident and to her poor choice in leaving the scene of this accident (which she claimed not to recall at all.)

  15. My hat is off to you Jane!!!
    You represent what parents should be like more these days.
    Too many parents, nowadays, are afraid to piss their children off and want to be their friends.
    In the long run, it sure hurts them.
    My step daughter is living proof of that.
    Keep on being a good mother!
    Good job!

  16. Congrats to you. I would rather be the meanest mom in the world than the putting my child in the grave for being stupid.

    In today’s world we need to be more like this than making excuses for our children and letting them keeping the items we afforded to them.

  17. You people should get a life. You were probably worse, driving around your piece of crap vans on acid when you were hippies. Hypocrites!!! ALl this media attention because it is a kid, why don’t you focus your attention on those idiot truck drivers who kill more people then drunk kids because they don’t sleep?

  18. Great. Let’s limit personal freedom and choice for our young ADULTS. Let’s punish college kids for being caught with A beer or closed alcohol containers in cars. He’s never going to grow up (which by the way, making mistakes is a huge part of the experience of growing up) – if you keep treating him like a child. You underestimate children and insult their intelligence when you assume they need careful guidance and strict rules. Let them grow. Let them experience. This “today’s world” everyone is afraid of is, in most part, a good thing: Personal freedom. A black president. Equal-rights. Lowered glass-ceilings. Innovation. 23-year-old millionaires who started tech companies. Maybe by allowing your children to experience life, you’ll allow them to prosper and to take responsibility (and credit) for their actions.

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