Monday, July 2, 2012

St Kevin of Thrifty

I spent the past week in Rutland with my Mom and am now back in Jersey with our friends, Walt and Terry, until we fly to the UK on the 5th.

There were certainly enough dramas getting to Rutland last Friday for my father's funeral service the next day.  We were booked on the Ethan Allen Express, the Amtrak train from New York to Rutland. It leaves Penn Station at 5:45, so we hopped on a bus from Freehold at 2:45 due into New York a little after 4 leaving plenty of time for a leisurely 10 minute walk to the train station.

Sounds like I left plenty of time in case of traffic jams, etc, doesn't it? Well, I didn't. Approaching the Lincoln Tunnel, traffic stopped dead and a battalion of buses lined up and began moving about 10 feet every few minutes. And then they stopped even moving ten feet forward for long gaps of time.

LK and I figured we were still sitting pretty with more than 90 minutes up our sleeves, but our sleeves were way too short. I've watched people's eyes glaze over as I describe all the details of our bus not moving much so I will cut this story very short. We exited the bus with less than 5 minutes to get to the train station. Not a chance of that, so Plan B went into effect.

We stumbled upon the Trailways ticketing office. I vaguely remembered that they served Albany so we went in to check. Turns out there was an express bus to Albany leaving in about half an hour, so we bought two tickets, made the easy decision that despite the obvious downside peeing in the bus station was still far more desirable than peeing on the bus, and headed to Albany.

From the bus station, we grabbed a cab to the airport to rent a car. There are about 6 car rental companies at the airport. Unfortunately there were no rental cars available at the airport. Remember, this is the capital city of New York State, and yet the airport was completely sold out of rental cars.

Hertz didn't have even No 1; Avis wouldn't try harder; didn't matter what my budget was with Budget; Dollar didn't want mine; National was national except for Albany; and Enterprise showed absolutely none.

So we were now only 2 hours away from Rutland but things weren't looking good for closing that gap.

Then the man from Hertz suggested I call Thrifty. They aren't located on the airport grounds, he explained, and maybe they hadn't run out of cars. Calling on their courtesy phone, I reached Kevin who quickly explained that they, too, had no cars available.

Starting to feel a tad desperate, I just as quickly explained that I understood this but could he possibly help me think of some other solution since I had to get to my father's funeral in the morning. Kevin put me on hold for a moment, came back and asked if I would be able to return a car the next afternoon if he rented one to me. Not a problem, Kevin, I said.

And so St Kevin of Thrifty enters our travel lore as one of the very good guys who took pity on us, helped us out and gave our potentially sad story a happy ending. So happy, in fact, that we arrived in Rutland only 40 minutes later than the train and with 3 minutes left to still buy a bottle of wine. Cue happy music and roll the credits.

Writing this reminds me that I intended to send Thrifty a note about what a great guy they have working for them. Of course, being me,  I have put it off for a week. So if I don't do it now, I probably never will. I am going to do it.

More about the time in Rutland tomorrow. 

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