It seems like much longer than a week ago, but it was only that. We, my sister and I, slogged into our hotel, dragging our luggage cart behind us, hoping my sister's mini-doxie didn't escape before we could get to the elevator. She's a frisky little thing (the dog, not my sister, trust me on this.)
We were two exhausted women of "a certain age", carrying four bags, two suitcases, and one small dog; and we were only staying for the one night. But we were relocating my sister from one state to another, and hence the extra baggage.
It was not, however, the weight of our belongings that caused our steps to drag toward the potential bliss of bath and bed; nor was it the distance we had traveled to get there. The actual distance was less than ten miles from where we had just finished an apartment move-out to this lodging. But it had taken us just over four hours to get from that pillar to this post.
To say I was not a happy camper does not begin to touch it. I had, by turns during this particularly trying day, been mad, sad, glad and all shades of ticked-off in between. You see somehow, during all the packing, and tossing away, and loading trucks, and stuffing recycle bins, ad infinitum ad nauseam, the key had fallen off the key ring to the rental car.
And of course, I did not discover this, until I pulled the key ring out (the remote entry-lock device and the plastic rental ID tag still firmly affixed to the ring) and tried to put the key into the ignition. It took a moment for me to focus my eyes and process why I could not seem to get the key in the ignition. Because THERE WAS NO KEY!!
I could have wept with sheer frustration, but there was no time. All the folks who had been helping us with the move had already left. So first I called AAA, (if I had been a drinker I would have needed AA instead) thinking they would just send someone over with a spare key. Nooooo, they cannot do that without a faxed authorization from the rental company.
So then I called the rental company, who shall remain nameless, but the name starts with a B and rhymes with "Fudge It" and reported my dilemma, while requesting they send someone with a spare key. They informed me that they did not have spare keys. What??? They run a fleet of vehicles, rented out to complete strangers 365 days a year, and they do not keep any spare keys?
So I was told. I still do not believe it, but they were not budging. Personally, I think they were fudging. After three more calls back and forth between AAA, Fudge It Rental Car Company, their call center in Canada (yes, Canada, despite the fact that we were only seven and a half miles from their lot where I obtained their dratted rental in the first place) and a tow truck operator (oh, yes, that comes next) we still had no way to start the car and it was getting late.
Finally, they said they would send me a different rental car, on a tow truck, and swap out the two cars, taking the one I had back to the lot. Wait a minute! It is easier to send a tow truck, with another car on it, unload that one, replace all the attendant paperwork, and load the one I currently had, than to just send me a key? This is insanity, I thought to myself.
Hours ticked by. Twice we were given arrival times, and twice those slipped by with no appearance by the tow truck. Meanwhile, I am ruminating on my fate. I had never used Fudge It before, as I had always used a better known, but more expensive, company. In a fit of cost consciousness I had decided to give Fudge It a try.
Over three hours later (remember we were only seven and a half miles from their lot) the magical tow truck finally appeared. The driver bounced out, cheerful as a June bug, and said to me, "What seems to be the trouble with your vehicle, little lady?"
I ground my teeth, to refrain from biting his ankle for his tardiness, and replied that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle at all. The key simply went missing from the key ring, and I held out the two other items on that ring, the key less remote and the plastic ID tag to show him what I meant.
I explained that I had called several times, requesting a spare key, but was told there was none. With a glint in his eye, somewhere between mischievous and smart-alecky, he took the key ring from my open palm and said, "You mean this?" whereupon he touched a small hidden button on the remote device and out popped a spare key.
If thoughts could have killed in that moment, I would have been convicted of felony mental-murder of at least three different rental car customer service people I had spoken with over the previous three hours, while waiting for a spare car, because according to them, there was no spare key.
Now it turned out there was a spare key, and I had it in my possession the whole time. Do you suppose that no one in the entire customer service/rental car company knew that the spare key was built into the remote key less device? I don't think so either.
* * * *
So as we trudged through the lobby, and I signed the register, the manager said she was glad we made it safely, since we were several ours later than our original check-in time. I briefly recapped the missing-key-saga.
She asked which rental car company it was? I told her (and said the real name, rather than Fudge It, starting with a B.)
She smiled with sympathy and said, "Well, the name kind of says it all, doesn't it?"
Indeed it did, it does, and let that be a lesson to me. What more can I say? Hope your life-lesson today was easier than this one. ...Marsha