Lost in Orlando

Guest Blog by Marcia L. Hestand

I recently received a phone call from my daughter letting me know that her brother, my son, was having colon cancer surgery the following day (Saturday). I needed to be there, so arrangements were made to fly out the next morning. Money was transferred, but there was no time to get any cash. I had plastic, so felt all was well.

Arrived in Orlando, confirmed that a reservation had been made for a car rental at a budget agency away from the airport. Met my daughter, we took the shuttle, got the car, and were on our way.

Surgery was over, son doing well, ate on plastic rather than cash. Made reservation for return flight on Monday, and early (5 AM) Monday left Sebring for Orlando. (Note to self: the next time arrival times are planned make sure to locate the exact cost of toll roads, the exact location of the rental agency, and how to get there!)

Tina (daughter) had given me $5 for tolls (we spent $1.25 leaving Orlando). I somehow lost the $5 bill. No cash, and the rental agency had tapped our credit/debit card to the max as a hold. So in order to get to the airport required going through toll booths with no money. “No problem, you can send it in” I was told.

It was at that point that I realized I had no idea how to get to the car rental drop-off. I pulled over, called the help number, listened to directions, and figured it was easy.

Three toll booths later, three slips of paper to send in with money later, I am still lost. Oh, and an hour later after arriving in Orlando. I knew where Jetport Drive was, but could not get to the right direction. It was one-way. The wrong way. Around in circles I went.

I asked for directions three times, and still could not find the right street. And two more toll booths with cash only, no agent. Picture time! I finally pulled off, found a liquor store in a nice little tourist trap, and walked in. The owner came out, I said “I need help! I am lost!” And I started crying. He said, “Lady, please stop crying. I can handle anything but a woman crying!” I told him my tale of woe, and he brought me around behind the counter, gave me a seat and a bottle of water, and tried to find someone to come take over his store so he could take me there. When that did not work, he called the Fox Rental number and began the hold time to talk to someone. One half hour later, still no talk, so I called the directions number again, writing down step by step.

The owner, Aziz, gave me $1.25 for toll since I would have to go through another unmanned booth. He also gave me his phone number and told me when I have to return to see my son to call him, he would make arrangements for me and he and his wife would put us up at their home. Would you believe!!

I arrived in Orlando at 7:30 AM. I arrived at Fox Rental at 9:45. I arrived home, Buffalo, at 6:30 PM.

As a warning to all, if you use a debit card make sure it is used as a charge, not debit. There is a hold of three working days before the credit is returned to our checking account. They did not tell me this, and it behooves all readers to make sure this information is understood up front, not after the fact!!!

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