Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mean Mom’ sells son’s car

January 15, 2008


Last week, she was the meanest mom on the planet. This week: the coolest.

Jane Hambleton, 48, gained a worshipful parental following when news of a classified ad she'd placed in the Des Moines Register was picked up by the Associated Press. The text of the 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."

Sold! Hambleton, a radio DJ in Fort Dodge, Iowa, received some 70 calls from buyers. And other parents. And emergency room workers. And school counselors. And scores of others wanting to congratulate her for being so Dirty Harry awesome.

"I don't think you can print" what Steven, 19, said to his mom, she told the Register. But then they became instantly famous, and by Thursday morning they were appearing on "Good Morning America," which got the television booking wars started, as ABC producer Chad Parks recounted it. "Today" wanted them.

The Hambletons were about to book that when folks from "Oprah Winfrey" called, demanding exclusivity, so the family leaned toward that, Mom being a huge Oprah fan. But then Ellen DeGeneres called.

And while Mom likes Oprah, Steven loves Ellen, and Mom was inclined to give this one to her son, considering she had taken away his car and all.

They were going back to Iowa to sort it all out, and were unreachable Thursday.

All of which proved one thing: America needed this. Oh boy, did we need this kind of tough love, the kind that says: "I am not your friend. I am your mother. Eat your peas. Now."

The kind that says: "I don't care what the other mothers are doing. I am not buying a pony keg for your party, even if I take away the keys to make sure your friends don't drive home plastered."

For the record, Steven, a student at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, told his mother that the alcohol in the car did not belong to him, but to a friend. For the record, Hambleton believed him. Nonetheless, it violated one of the two rules she'd set forth when she bought him the car at Thanksgiving: No Booze, and Keep It Locked.

Steven was originally "very, very unhappy," the Register reported, but he and Mom seem to have patched things up. It's amazing what a free trip to New York can do.


craigers 10 years, 2 months ago

powershopper, she was being a parent and followed her senses. Better she puts an end to it versus the police if he were to get pulled over and have an open container. I say good for her.

freeordie 10 years, 2 months ago

What's this kid dong still at home and what is his Mother buying him a $3700 dollar car for?! She was in the car looking under the seat? It wasn't his? Weirdos.

akt2 10 years, 2 months ago

I say good job. So what if he is 19. 19 year olds still need parental guidance. He is lucky to have a mom like that. Snooping is a mother's god given right.

Confrontation 10 years, 2 months ago

"For the record, Steven, a student at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, told his mother that the alcohol in the car did not belong to him, but to a friend. For the record, Hambleton believed him."

Ha! She fell for that line?

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

It's pretty bad when this is enough to get national exposure. Holy crap, parents enforcing rules!

staff04 10 years, 2 months ago

I'm not usually too critical of the LJW, but this story was being printed all over the place last week.

EXks 10 years, 2 months ago

powershopper, it is all about ACCOUNTABILITY.
Our actions, regardless of age have consequences.

Back then, in my heart, I knew what I did was wrong.

staff04 10 years, 2 months ago

Did for a few years. Moved downtown. Couldn't afford to feed and house myself on the Hill salary.

BigPrune 10 years, 2 months ago

How could someone like Ellen DeGeneres more than Oprah? Does the son walk on his tippy toes and hold his pinky out from his limp wrist when he takes a sip of his favorite beverage?

staff04 10 years, 2 months ago

Not directly, but in the general neighborhood. Maybe we've passed each other on the street.

hawklet21 10 years, 2 months ago

Dirtylinen, if you are not from Lawrence and have never lived here, what brings you to the ljworld? Just curious.

Corey Williams 10 years, 2 months ago

Maybe I'm just cynical...actually, I know I am...but this just doesn't sound true. Sort of like the father in Quebec who caught his son with marijuana a few weeks ago and sold the $90 video game for $9000.

Why did this story even catch on? Isn't this supposed to happen when children still living at home break their parents' rules? But what makes me think this isn't real is this: how many chances did they have to be on any tv shows before this? But now they have their 15 minutes.

woxy 10 years, 2 months ago

"Nonetheless, it violated one of the two rules she'd set forth when she bought him the car at Thanksgiving: No Booze, and Keep It Locked."-from the story

She bought him the car, she made the rules. Up front. If he didn't want her to snoop in his car or make rules, he should have bought it himself. And, unless the law in Iowa is different than the law in Kansas, society does not recognize him as an adult in the case of possession of alcohol.

moveforward 10 years, 2 months ago

Awesome! A parent that does the right thing and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. The world need more of this.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 2 months ago

powershopper I disagree. If she bought the car and is paying for him to go to college then she can make the rules. All my kids moved out as soon as they could, because we told them they had to follow the same rules as before. We set the rules in our house, regardless of how old you are. Don't like it, move.

EXks 10 years, 2 months ago

Sounds exactly like something my mother, may she rest in peace, would have done. We followed her rules, guidelines, etc., or else there was hell to pay!!!

I remember when I was about 12, I thought it would be cool to "shoplift" a Playboy magazine. mom found the mag and her reaction was akin to the bombing of Hiroshima!

She made me take it back to the store, inform them that I was a THIEF, and told them to punish me for my crimes.

Embarrassed? Yes! Shamed? Yes! Humiliated? Yes!

It was a lesson I will never forget.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 2 months ago

My parents would have yanked the keys, put the car up on blocks in the driveway and made me attend AA. I would have had to see the car I could not drive every day and learned about alchoholism. I would have to earn the priveledge of using the car again. Any infraction would add on more time to the punishment. By selling the car Mom loses her leverage.

woxy 10 years, 2 months ago


I don't completely disagree with you. If she had not made the conditions Up Front, and he had not agreed with them Up Front, then I would see your point more. However, they had a Verbal Contract, and as an adult, legally empowered to enter into such, he did not keep his end of the contract. He suffered the consequences.

pace 10 years, 2 months ago

My Dad did it to my brother and it worked. Sold my brothers new car when he figured out the speeds he was driving. Meaning what you say has a lot of leverage, it is more leverage than the toy itself. My daughter once warned a friend about whining and fibbing to me. My brother worked hard and eventually my father cleverly bought him an old tank that wouldn't go over 50.

standuporget 10 years, 2 months ago

WOW DirtyLinen, I was just gonna say my brother does IT and he knows a lot about computers he has to. Opinions are one thing and I hate to call someone a liar but powershopper please

denak 10 years, 2 months ago

I read about this story a week or so ago. I thought what she did was right and I still do. Sometimes as a parent, you have to be a harda**. Most parents would rather put up with their children whinning about how "unfair" they are then to go to the morgue and identify them. Or worst, have to sit in court because your child took someone else's child's life because he or she was drinking and driving. So, yeah for her! I think what she did was great!

Secondly, I think some people are making too big a deal out of the 19 year old living at home while going to college. I know a few college age students who are living at home still. Mostly it is to cut costs. My son will start college in 2 years and I already told him that he could live here his freshman and sophmore year while he goes to KU. From a financial standpoint, I don't see any reason to pay X thousands of dollars so he can stay in the dorm, when he can live here for free.Not to mention, that I am determined that he will get out of college with as little debt as possible. Maybe their decision to allow him to stay home while he is in college has less to do with not being able to cut the apron strings, then the financial realities of higher education.


hottruckinmama 10 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree with powershopper for the most part. My kids are 22 18 and 7. The daughter is the oldest and the younger 2 are my boys. My girl lived at home until about 6 months ago and I wouldn't have dreamed of going thru her car or her room for that matter. And I was a co-signer on her car loan. My 18 year old is a senior in high school and I MIGHT go thru his pick-up if I suspected their were something in there that shouldn't be. He bought his pick-up on his own. The truck might end up grounded to the yard for a awhile. I wouldn't make an @ss out of him and me by doing something like this. It sounds to me like this mom is a little bit of a control freak and a publicity hound.

Calliope877 10 years, 2 months ago


Hi. Initially, I was going to congratulate you on your alleged success (not that my congratulations would've meant much to you since I'm a struggling student, working a "blue-collar" job, acquiring some loan debt of my own, and living in a town you seem to look down upon) but after reading many of your posts, I think it's very disheartening that a person that has achieved the level of success you claim to have is representing themselves in such a juvenile manner.

I certainly hope you're not as condescending and snobbish in reality as you portray yourself to be online.

I know A LOT of times the anonymity of posting online can bring out the worst in an individual who may otherwise be a decent person. But if you truly are what you say you are, and truly think many of the thoughts you've expressed on this forum about other people who you do not know (and this comment isn't directed towards you alone, btw), then this behavior may eventually have an adverse effect on your life...Karma is a bi@tch like that.

Plus, I understand you felt that other posters initiated this "battle" first by attacking you personally through comments about your upbringing just because your view was in opposition to theirs, and perhaps this wasn't right of them, but it should not have given you incentive to do the same or go one step further by making assumptions about their lifestyle or physical appearance.

In my opinion, personal success isn't measured by how much money you make, what type of car you drive, or whether or not you can buy your parents their "dream house" -- true success is measured by the growth of character, and the monetary/material things are just a bonus. And this type of success should be appropriately represented both online and off. That's something MY parents taught me, and I try to measure up to it everyday.

And as far as the topic is concerned -- I think the mom did the right thing.

Dwight_Schrute 10 years, 2 months ago

BigPrune (Anonymous) says:

How could someone like Ellen DeGeneres more than Oprah? Does the son walk on his tippy toes and hold his pinky out from his limp wrist when he takes a sip of his favorite beverage?

Careful Prune, you'll have gayokay in a tizzy!

labmonkey 10 years, 2 months ago

What a bitch....selling the car is okay, but keeping the ad to rub it in and gain national exposure will turn him away from her forever.

Mandie Eutsler 10 years, 2 months ago

first of all, powershopper, you are full of s##t. Second of all, this world is full of spoiled brats, and we can't even spank the s##t out of them if they need it. If young steven had gotten a dui, he wouldn't have a driver's license, therefore he would be in the same boat he's in now. i think the mother did the right thing, snooping or not. the problem is that parents let thier kids get away with whatever because it's easier to not pay attention than it is to be on top of it. so all of you invasion of privacy people, grow up and pay attention. the most well adjusted people in the world had parents who paid attention, not to only the bad things, but the good things too. I can well imagine this woman pays attention and young steven will be better off for it. the lesson here is, if you have to, GO THROUGH THIER S##T!!!

Mandie Eutsler 10 years, 2 months ago

one more thing for the powershopper. Not bad for an amateur wind-up merchant, but you went to far with the whole success is me thing. don't give up, I'm sure you will get it down eventually.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 2 months ago

Dwight_Schrute (Anonymous) says:

BigPrune (Anonymous) says:

How could someone like Ellen DeGeneres more than Oprah? Does the son walk on his tippy toes and hold his pinky out from his limp wrist when he takes a sip of his favorite beverage?

Careful Prune, you'll have gayokay in a tizzy!

In a tizzy? Nah, I've been living with that kind of ignorance since I was in grade school. But since we are talking stereotypes, I don't watch Ellen and only occationally watch Oprah. I'm usually busy doing such flamin' nelly things like maintaining my home, working on our cars and training my hunting dog.

Kontum1972 10 years, 2 months ago

the kid will probably do something off his parents!

Paul R Getto 10 years, 2 months ago

None-the-less, she shouldn't have been snooping around in his car.

Depends; if she bought it for him and/or pays some of all of the fees, she is perfectly justified in "snooping." It's better than snooping around the morgue trying to find sonny boy's body.

adriennerm 10 years, 2 months ago

  1. What's wrong with a 19 year old living at home if he's in college?? I don't understand why some of you are shocked that he still lives at home. Also why can't the mom purchase her son a car. Maybe he needed transporation to and from school.

  2. Blanket parenting doesn't work. What family X does will not work for family Y. Also two sibilings living in the same house can turn out complete opposites.

  3. I'm a parent and I snoop. I will snoop until my daugher moves out. So far i've only found a plate of chicken bones under the bed. I snoop when I suspect something...Like why I only had 7 plates Friday and I had 8 on Monday. I don't snope for the heck of it...I trust my daugther. However she's a teen and teens do stupid stuff. Therefore I have to check things out when she acting fishy.

hottruckinmama 10 years, 2 months ago

I can see the mother being upset. I can see taking the car away for awhile. Maybe. What I can't see is making such a big deal out of it that it gets national attention. She sounds like a publicity hound and an attention seeker to me.

ontheotherhand 10 years, 2 months ago

BigPrune (Anonymous) says: How could someone like Ellen DeGeneres more than Oprah? Does the son walk on his tippy toes and hold his pinky out from his limp wrist when he takes a sip of his favorite beverage?

=== Wow, lots of thoughtful comments and then we get the grand response from BigPrune aka BigDork.

I'll bet you would have said "Good job Son. Driving while drinking. You must be a MAN now. Let's go get a beer and celebrate!" Then you could have appeared on Jerry Springer with the rest of the simple minds. (Hey! Stupid remarks deserve stupid responses so don't get too offended, Prune.)

lily 10 years, 2 months ago

The saddest part to me is a bunch of so called adults fighting about this when it all boils down to we are all entitled to our own opinion. Doesn't make any of us right or wrong. I happen to agree with the mom's methods but I don't think she should have put all that in the ad. I agree with posters who wonder why it's such a big deal to live at home. Every situation has it's own story it's not anyone else's business as to why it's the way it is. He's in college, it's cheaper to live at home. Maybe, (God forbid) some families enjoy each other's company Every house has rules. I don't let other kids come into my home and have free range. I got rules for all of them. It's called respect. If someone else doesn't have rules in theirs, that's their business I just may not agree with them.
They had an agreement, he broke it, she sells. End of story. But to think, good parenting is making national news! Now that is pathetic.

hottruckinmama 10 years, 2 months ago

My guess is that the posters who are so upset over a 19 year old still living at home must not have all that good of a relationship with their own kids. My girl lived at home until she was 21. She has only been out of the house about 6 months now. And then she only moved about a mile down the road. If she or any of my boys ever need to come home they are always welcome. and they know it. It would seem strange to me to have it any other way.

oldgranny 10 years, 2 months ago

I'll tell you why some of the posters are so upset with a 19 year old kid still living at home. Its because most of these baby boomers are just to d@nm selfish to have ever raised kids. They had 'em. They stuck 'em with a baby sitter as soon as the umbical cord fell off. They ignored them for the most part while they were growing up because they were so concerned with "me me me" "whats best for me" and now that they are college age messes they want then out of the nest ASAP. So they can swallow vigra by the handful mess with the wife or girlfriend and totally concentrate on "me me me"

Veritas 10 years, 2 months ago

If powershopper is so smart, one would think that he could post a link that takes you to the PUBLIC view of his profile...

Veritas 10 years, 2 months ago

I never said I was so smart. You do it for me.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 2 months ago

powershopper writes: "Here is my opinion. Unless you have an inordinate amount of money to support your kid completely, off site, while they are in college, as a parent, you should support them in any way you can. If they need to live at home, let them live at home. If they need help buying a car, buy them a car."

HAHAHAHA!!! Your opinion is precisely why we have a society seemingly full of whiners who have problems taking on responsibility and precisely why this article made national news.

The trust was violated and there's absolutely no reason why mom can't exert any (legal) kind of control and oversight that she deems necessary within her home. Once she feels that a level of trust has been re-established, she might choose to back off a little. To suggest that the poor little kid may suffer some mental trauma? Gimme a break! That's called dealing with life.

bevy 10 years, 2 months ago

Puts me in mind of a quote from the mom on Little People, Big World. She said "I would love to be friends with my kids. Now is not the time."

I'm a mom of three, one of whom will start college in the fall. Due to seventeen years of marriage to my deadbeat ex-hubby, I am not in a position to help her out much with her education, except I CAN provide her with a place to live. I don't see that as a problem. At some point I may require her to pay a little rent, just so she can get used to reality. I don't see a problem with that. I fully expect that she'll choose to move out in a year or two. She's already talking about that.

As for this mom - I say ROCK ON! Having lost a friend to drunk driving - not his, but someone else's - I think she picked a great way to make her point.

I don't think she's a publicity hound. She's a radio deejay, she probably gets plenty of public attention. I think she's a smart, creative parent and I hope that her act of tough love will be an example to wimpy parents all over the USA.

That being said, I would take the Today show over either Oprah or Ellen.

Calliope877 10 years, 2 months ago

powershopper (Anonymous) says:

"calliope - thanks for regurgitating todays lecture from philosophy 101. "

Believe it or not, I actually think about what I'm writing -- though I admit I can be a tad bit long-winded at times -- so there wasn't any "regurgitation" involved, but you're welcome regardless.

DL - Thanks for the link. I may read it if/when I have the time.:)

Everybody stay safe -- it's frickin' nasty outside.

Lawrencereader 10 years, 2 months ago

"If this kid had followed even one rule i.e. locking the care, mom would not have found the alcohol ( rule 2) & the kid would still have his car."

And would still be involved in underage drinking and probably driving while drunk. Interesting viewpoint.

AskMeanMom 10 years, 1 month ago

My hat is off to Jane Hambleton! As the mother of a 16 year old new driver, we have the same rule about alcohol...I know that kids can use the excuse "it wasn't mine!" so banning alcohol and making the kid (at age 19, a young adult) responsible for making sure that his friends do not violate that rule. Good for her!

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