That is probably one of the worst examples I've read. And it conveys the notion of what, I think, is going wrong in this country.
1. First, the neighbor used property that wasn't hers but believed that she had a right to use it.
2. She justified #1 by it happening only rarely. It's okay that she can use other people's property without their consent or notice as long as it's only rarely.
3. She blamed her wrong actions on the neighbors, who were the victims.
4. Emotionalism is okay and we have to "empathize" with people, even when what they've done is completely wrong. We have to be "understanding".
5. As long as her intentions were good, her neighbors should have bent over backwards to let her do what she wanted.
6. It's okay to not tell the other person what you're doing with their property. They should be okay with whatever you want to do.
Now, as to the actions by the married couple. How about these instead.
1. Irimi. The husband should have walked in with the phone and told her if she didn't quiet down and behave respectfully, he was dialing 9-1-1. That she can talk about what happened, but in an adult manner.
As an aside, it is *amazing* how people (normal, not criminals or domestic disputes) calm down when they realize that law enforcement is going to get involved. I've had quite a few "road rage" drivers in front of me driving insanely, veering, braking, etc, etc. I make sure they see me in their rear view mirror, I pick up the cell phone, pretend to hit three numbers, and start talking while looking at their license plate. I mime their license and voila -- they suddenly start driving sanely again.
2. Tenkan. Ask why she didn't leave a note. Explain that had the note been left, the whole situation would have turned out completely differently. People can be "understanding" when they're informed of a situation. It was late and with no information as to what was going on, they were left with no options.
3. Blending. Tell her that she is a good neighbor and if they would have known of the very special circumstances, other arrangements could have been made, even that late at night. They wouldn't have had the car towed had they known it was her son's.
Final note. Think about this. Because the married couple capitulated and apologized, some neighbors might have sued them to pay for the towing fees.
The only thing this article did was to teach people how to roll over, be submissive, and play good little doggie when someone takes their bone. A perfectly horrible example of "aikido" outside the mat.