She said, “Mizzzzzz (she drawled it out) Janie, I’m sorry, the gate guard called someone higher than me and I’m unable to let you take the car.”
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I Can Bat My Big Brown Eyes And Get Anything I Want...NOT.
Well, glory be and hallelujah, my new driver’s license showed up in the mail today. It’s an every 5 year or so occurrence...Well, unless your physical address is not the same address where you receive your mail.
I renewed my license timely. I didn’t receive it timely, though.
And, as you know, I travel. A lot. Which translates to the use of rental cars. A lot of rental cars. And though I rented cars for a two-week period on an almost daily basis with an expired license, truth is, I knew that any day, I was going to get caught. And I did.
Unfortunately for me, it was at midnight, at the National rental car location in Houston, at Intercontinental Airport.
At the exit. Driving OUT the exit. At the little booth where they say, “Prepay your fuel this time, Ms. Janie?” I was THAT close, people.
Yup. They wouldn’t let me leave. I had to back up, unpack the car, and go inside.
So, I went into the counter (oh, my gosh, I love NOT having to do that, which is only one of the reasons National is going to get a bye on this one. I’m Executive Level with them, so I get to bypass the counter AND pick out whatever I want to drive), explain my situation, go through the Texas DPS drill on the iPad. I put in my license number, my birthday, and show them where the license has been mailed, while showing them my expired license that I have in hand.
The manager said no way, Jose. Even though I had rented two cars in the two prior days from National with an expired license,and their computer history proved it, they wouldn’t let me rent. I kept talking, and reasoning that even if I got stopped by the police, they’d let me go once they ran my license through the system. And I showed them my CHL. (They weren’t impressed.) I showed them my passport. (They weren’t impressed with that, either.) I showed them my insurance card. (Same, same.) Then, the manager said, okay, she’d let me rent. Then, she thought about it, and she said she couldn’t let me rent. Then, she gave in again, and said she would, just this once. (Okay, I did let my eyes water a little sometime during this harrowing experience.)
And talk about
sucky perfect timing? About this time, the gate guard called to check to see if they were going to let me rent, or did they need to repark the car?
The manager? Was now busted by her underling.
(I should have known better than to weaken to almost tears. Dang it. Manipulation is not my strong suit. My face cracks.) (Don’t even ask me to play poker.) I freaking jinxed myself.
And this is what I said, and I was super nice about it:
“Really? No, honey, here’s what happened. Here’s the real drill. In our earlier conversations, you told me there was no one higher than you that you could call. So your employee called you to check on what to do with the car, and basically caught you bending the rules a little, so you decided to walk it out according to your policy. Right? And I totally understand that. Now what? Any suggestions?”
And I do understand. But dang, people, it was midnight. I'm at the remote rental car location. No taxi anywhere. I wanted to go to my hotel. I’d been traveling almost 24 hours. I had been to Virginia and back in one day. And I would have been so much more amenable had she just told me the freaking truth.
ThatManILove says I have a BS monitor that’s tuned to a WAY high frequency. That puppy was vibrating, let me tell ya. I KNEW she was lying.
She looked at me, and hung her head. I said, “Seriously. I really understand. Y’all have procedures, and you must adhere to them. I get that. I’m just tired, I need to get to sleep, and I have customers to see tomorrow in downtown Houston.”
Her counter help chimed in about this time, and said, “Hey, Janie. I have an idea. I used to work at Avis. Email me that page with your license renewal, I’m going to print it off for you. Go to the counter, tell them your story, show them that paper, and I bet they’ll let you rent. If they don’t, I’ll personally call a taxi for you.”
I profusely thanked them both, walked over to Avis, armed with a copy of the page from the DPS with my license # on it and the page that said it had been renewed and in the mail, and told the counter clerk the entire story. He turned around, found his manager, and they let me rent. No problem.
When I got to the hotel, I emailed the TX DPS and asked them where my license was. Two days later, I received a reply (which I appreciated) saying that they had mistakenly mailed it to my house address (it’s a Texas law that your residential address be printed on your license) and that it had been returned to them and they had to print another and were going to mail it as soon as it was out of production.
I tell you all that to tell you this:
When it’s getting close to your birthday, check to see if it’s time to renew your license, because you’re not always going to receive a reminder (I didn’t.)
When you do renew your license, do it in a timely manner (I did...just not timely enough for all my traveling.)
And when you haven’t received it within 10 days of them mailing it to you? Check on it again. Something’s wrong. The Texas DPS License division is like a machine. They spit that stuff out muy pronto.
And be nice to the counter help. ALWAYS. They have rules. And sometimes they can bend those rules. Sometimes, they can’t.
And hey, another good thing happened out of it all - it did provide a little bit of blog fodder, right? Kinda gives ThatManILove a break.
It’s never boring around here!