Rental Cars and a Life Lesson


Any of us who have traveled know things don’t always go as planned.  Not only that but in most cases we cannot control the circumstances and sometimes #(&* happens.  Late one evening my wife and I arrived at the Budget Car Rental location and entered a line of 20-30 people.  Bummer.  There were only 4 Budget staff members.  Double bummer.

Over the next 30 minutes the line gradually moved along and I was #1 in line.  At this point we heard a LOUD voice from a disgruntled customer as he’s leaving the counter:  “It’s my 40th birthday and I reserved a Ford Mustang convertible!  And they “F’d” me (actual word was used).”  He repeated this several times on his way out the door.

Then I’m up next – with the same Budget person who had just disappointed the upset 40-year old.  And guess what?  I had also reserved a Ford Mustang convertible.  He looked at my reservation and said “Oh boy….”.  I already knew I wasn’t getting what I had ordered.  We talked about how that could happen and have a relatively pleasant conversation.  Over the next 10 minutes he found a brand new Dodge Charger.  He discounted my rate by 50% over what I had reserved, and he wrote on the rental contract that I was authorized to bring it back empty with no additional charge.

My predecessor in line walked away unhappy, a total stress ball, and he didn’t get any special accommodations.  We got more than we expected and had a great experience with Budget.  I wasn’t even particularly nice to the Budget manager.  I simply offered him the same respect I would want from others.  Sometimes we don’t even have to be wonderful – we just need to NOT be an “XXX-hole”.

The life lesson?  Roll with the punches. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  And it’s all small stuff.

Walter Boos