National Car Rental is holding a contest entitled “Tales from the Road”.
I would have liked to participate but contestants are required to register using their Facebook accounts. This seemed fine at first, but it turns out that Tales from the Road is an app that requires access to your profile. It’s not that my profile contains anything important or sensitive, but as a matter of principle I don’t allow any apps access to my Facebook account (a site that, if the truth be told, I very rarely visit).
Initially I thought about using a fake account but I did not want to take any risks: somewhere in the fine print they may have said that contestants will be monitored by Interpol and in the event of registering using fictitious accounts they will be found, fined, and perhaps put in jail. Even worse, as a supreme punishment you could get put on a ‘no-rental’ list. And I want to be able to rent cars in the future.
So here are my ‘hors concours’ stories:
Wearing a Bathrobe in the Elevator
I was at a Radisson hotel staying on the 22nd floor. The swimming pool was on the 16th floor so I went there wearing a bathrobe, and of course my swimming trunks.
After a few laps I started to head back to my room, but I was too slow swiping the room card for the elevator and it went all the way to the ground floor. There, a group of 5 or 6 women (ages ranging from 30 to 50) got in, so it was just me in my bathrobe (and of course the swimming trunks under) amongst a very chatty group of women.
On its way up the elevator stopped before reaching my floor and the doors opened to reveal a hotel employee. He took one look at us and decided to wait, even though there was still room and some of the women were encouraging him to come in.
As soon as the door closed one of the women exclaimed: “He was shy!” Another responded: “This guy doesn’t seem to mind and he must be naked under the bathrobe!” (she was talking about me). They all started to laugh and I protested that it wasn’t true, (rather quietly I admit) not that it mattered as no one seemed to care for my response anyway. Finally the elevator stopped at my floor and as I stepped out one of them said: “Let’s follow him to see what room he’s going to!” More laughter ensued but it was only their voices that followed me out of the elevator.
First Time Driving an Automatic Car
I came to Canada and wanted to rent a car. I am from Europe and I have only driven manual cars, so I asked for one. They almost laughed at me and informed me that they only had automatic cars.
I was forced to rent an automatic car and somehow I managed to drive it off the parking lot and to the hotel.
There, I went to my room and returned with my luggage, placing it in the trunk. I wanted to drive away and I tried to move the gear from “P” to “D.” It didn’t work. I tried and tried but to no avail. Finally, I asked someone for help and he told me to press the brake. I did not know about this. When I had started the car at the rental station I must have pressed the brake accidentally without realizing it was a necessary action for switching the gear from “P” to “D.”
This story brings to mind a later incident with an automatic rental car. I had rented a Honda Fit Sport and the attendant had informed me that I could manually change the gears using the gear shift paddles located on the steering wheel. I gave him a puzzled look and asked: “Isn’t it automatic? What do you mean change the gears?” He told me to “forget about it” and I did. Although, I was very careful not to touch the paddles while I drove! Since my curiosity was aroused I looked it up later and found out what it was all about: the Honda Fit Sport gave the driver the option of changing gears manually; it was the “Sport” model.