1) How did you get into the business of repossessing peoples’ cars?
I was about 19 or 20 years old and I lived in an apartment complex. Some guys were there repossessing a motorcycle and I thought they were stealing his motorcycle. So I went over there and got into a whole big scuffle with these guys. Needless to say, they end up busting out a piece of paper and saying, “Dude, you don’t gotta try to kick our ass, we’ve gotta repo the bike.” Then I actually ended up becoming a spotter for them, and I did it for years.
2) What’s the craziest repossession you’ve had in your career?
The funny thing is, every time you think you’ve got a great story to tell to your friends and your family, there’s always another situation that happens.
Once this girl came out and tried to bribe me with everything she could. She practically got almost completely naked to keep her car! Four girls came out with her and were egging her on to do it. They were like, “Bribe him with your booty! Bribe him with your boobies!” I had a friend with me that day, and he couldn’t believe it. He was like, “Man, I want your job.”
3) What’s the wildest way someone has expressed their gratitude when you let them keep their car?
I’ve had girlfriends in my life, and I’ve been hugged by those girlfriends, and you know it’s a sincere hug when someone loves you. But honestly, when these people get so close to losing everything -- their way to get their kids to the doctor, to school – that hug is more sincere to me than any girlfriend has ever hugged me. When someone tells you they prayed to God and the next day you showed up on their doorstep, and I’m their angel? It’s pretty overwhelming. In this business, I would never expect to have that happen. I’ve been called every name in the book every single day for doing this career.
4) How often do you work out to maintain a threatening physique? Any tips for guys wanting to shape up out there?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t call it that. Typically, it’s just a part of my daily routine. I go usually every day of my life. We have this expression: GTR. Gym, tan, repo.
5) As a child, did you ever think you’d a game show host?
[Laughs] Are you kidding me? That’s a trick question, right? No, never thought I would ever be doing this, never.
6) So you get to ask the questions, but do you think you could answer them correctly if you were in the driver’s seat?
I’m the host. I know all the answers. Not only am I smart, but I’m a smartass.
7) You filmed in out west (in Phoenix), where car culture is a very important thing. Did people seem more reluctant to give away their cars there?
Nobody ever wants to give away their car. I live in Phoenix, so this is my home turf. Knowing people here, and then going to Dallas was a big difference for me. We wore bulletproof vests in Dallas because it’s a state where people are gunslingers. We didn’t actually know what we were getting into.
8) What kind of advice would you give people to make sure they get those car payments paid off?
God, we’re bad, as Americans. If you don’t make your payments, you have to expect that we’re going to come to your door and repossess your car. People need to live within their means. But we’re Americans, and we don’t do that. We want nicer things, and we live outside our means. People don’t really realize how badly they’re going to damage their credit rating for the next five to seven years. In high school, we need to learn about finance and not cooking or weightlifting.
9) What’s your ideal set of wheels?
I’m Italian, so Lamborghini all the way. If money wasn’t an issue. I’ve been saying it ever since I was a little kid.
10) Which celebrity’s car would you most like to repossess?
Donald Trump. He probably doesn’t even drive; he’s been in a limo his whole life. He’s got such an attitude behind him… I wanna get in his face and be like, “You’re repo-ed!” and just watch him laugh. Repo Games airs Tuesdays at 11/10c on Spike. For more news, photos, clips, full episodes and more, check out repogames.spike.com! Read Tom DeTone's bio here.