Caroline and I decided to rent a car due to all of the Uber fees we were looking at racking up for shopping and provisioning. We call Alamo rent-a-car and got one for $20 a day at the Oakland airport. We signed the papers and went outside to collect the car.

As we approached the podium the clerk informed us that we were behind ~20 people in line and that we were playing the car rental lottery. The lot was empty and every time a car came in, regardless of class, the first person in line would get it or refuse it and wait for the next car to roll in.

It turns out that the rental place had a new manager that had not yet figured out holiday rushes so the Alamo staff was bringing in every car they could rent out. The clerk told us they were even renting cars with minor window dings by pulling them out of the remote repair lot. The dings were only cosmetic but not something they normally rent out. They were doing everything to  to make everything work.

As we got to the front of the line I told my story of the car rental lottery to the very friendly clerk:

I landed late in the evening right before the rental office was to close in Dulles. While walking toward the little rental shack I noticed a woman walking behind me. Being a gentlemen I opened and held the door for the woman.

I often feel the ghost-hand of mom right behind my head ready to whack me if I am rude. Good teaching? I guess so, I am reasonably polite when I need to be.

The clerk behind the desk in Dulles informs the woman and I that we are the last 2 people to get cars that night both due to the time and the fact that there are only 2 cars left in the lot. The clerk gives the woman I held the door open for a key and I get the next key.

I walk out to the lot and I notice I am standing in a pool of light that is in the shape of the Ford Mustang logo. I look all around for the source and discover that the light is coming from the underside of the door handle of the car I am standing next to. I look up to see the smiling face of the woman I held the door for and she says, “This is GREAT! I rented a compact and I get a MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE!”

I turn around to MY rental to discover that it is last years Chrysler minivan.  (Sad Trombone).

The Alamo clerk said it was karma and it might come back to me. The next car that rolled into the lot was a minivan.. we all laughed while Caroline and I offered it to the family with 2 strollers and enough baggage to fill the Titanic. They were THRILLED.

The next car was a Suburban (Caroline does not do Suburbans, full stop). We offered this to the next couple behind us. They were straight from Japan. They looked at the Suburban oddly and then got in. I see many fenders rubbed in their future.

As the clerk and I laughed about the rubbed fenders the clerk said I think your karma just came in. Sure enough a new Mustang convertible rolled to a stop in front of us. We took it.

I finally won the car rental lottery. We were only going to rent a car until Wednesday but I think I’ll extend the rental for the rest of the week we are here. It sure does make cool vroom vroom noises.


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