I agree. It sounds like a contrived example - to merely provide a scenario in which the principles of active listening can be presented.
If it weren't a contrived example, all this active listening rubbish could have been avoided in the first place. A simple apology (on both sides) would have sufficed.
Contrived example = kata?
Some say kata is a poor way to develop aiki which requires appropriate response to a real attack. Contrived examples do serve as poor examples to demonstate a sincere response above and beyond a mere contrived reply to a contrived attack.
Too late to find a parking space but plenty of time to get a tow? In my neighborhood no tow unless the vehicle is ticketed which means cops + tow. How long does that take compared to finding another parking spot?
Where is Paul Harvey for the 'rest of the story'? How about the back story? The son who rarely visits and parks in someone elses driveway? Moms extreme reaction (my mom would have said 'dumbass, park like a normal person') clearly indicates way more going on here. Better to have him towed and never come back I think. One should not read too much into such a contrived story with so little other info (the type of neighborhood makes a big difference, for example).
Let's go with the story as presented ... dealing with a random irate person calls for a completely different approach than dealing with a neighbor. As a general example this serves a very limited case so is not really that helpful in permitting exposition on appropriate techniques (as an expression of principles). Working from how to deal with the random irate person and modulating those principles to dealing with a neighbor can be easily done but going the other way, not so much.
Last time I had someone blocking my driveway towed (took about 1 hour to get the car ticketed and towed) they were pretty upset but I straight away I asked what they would do when I blocked their driveway ... they deflated and went away (in Berkeley near the University there is no parking for many blocks at certain times-decent area with occasional crazy or transient crackhead). Everyone from anywhere near that area knows parking is a huge problem and knows better tha nto block someones driveway (who doesn't know this?) Besides, I always use the peep or look out the window to see who is there and can read them pretty good. Someone too wound up won't get the door opened that is for sure.
Not to mention an irate person at ones door is not what I would call a difficult conversation.