I once bought a used car from a car rental company.
People thought I was crazy. ‘Don’t you know how those cars are treated?’ they all asked.
I thought they were treated better than the average person’s car. They got a good going over every time they were returned. They got regular maintenance (probably more than your average car.) They were washed often. Detailed often.
I thought I was being pretty smart.
Besides, it was a four cylinder Ford Pinto station wagon. What were the chances the renters were pulling wheelies, doing donuts in the parking lot or power braking in a drag race? I don’t think a Pinto is even capable of those things!
It was a good price with relatively low mileage. It worked for me.
So when the time came that I needed another car my thoughts turned once again to the rental company.
My mother came for a visit.
Her car was in the shop so she rented one.
As the old cliché goes…..it was a dark and stormy night.
Actually it was a ‘nor'easter.
Our neighborhood was at sea level and flooded on sunny days. During a storm we were mostly submerged.
We were lucky, our street was slightly higher than most of the other streets in the neighborhood so we usually only got about six inches of flooding. But the street around the corner….the one that we used to leave the neighborhood by….that was another story.
That street turned into a veritable swimming pool.
I don’t know why I never mentioned this to my mother. I just didn’t think of it I guess. Or I thought she knew…….
We had a lovely visit, said our goodbyes….hugs and kisses and she climbed into her rental car and left.
About twenty minutes later she knocked at our front door, shoes in hand, slacks rolled up to her knees, hair matted to her head, wet to the bone.
She had driven the rental car around the corner and straight into the dip in the road into what she called ‘the gaping maw of a lake’.
She had tried to restart the engine but soon realized it was a lost cause.
Being the good children we were we donned our raingear and went to try and rescue the car.
There in the middle of the street was the car…….in all its glory.
The driver’s door was open; the water was covering the seats. The lovely cream colored leather seats of the brand new Cadillac Seville.
The rental company told my mother she was the first one to rent it!
The brand new submerged car in the middle of the street that was now, for all intents and purposes, a community swimming hole!
The tow truck had a heck of a time getting to it much less hauling it out of the puddle.
You know how in movies when they pull a car out of a river and the water pours out of it……forever?
Yeah, like that!
Needless to say I didn’t but my next car from a rental company.
(Yes, she had taken the extra insurance when she rented it. Smart woman!)