Hertz So Good

Are your kids on a first name basis with your car rental return guy?  12 hours ago I would have said “Neither are mine.”Â  Not anymore, people, not anymore.  We are all now intimately acquainted with Brian and he with us.

When he leaves our side, Laylee asks, “Where’s Brian?”

“Oh, he just went to forage for food or check on the road conditions,” I will answer, “He’ll be back in a minute.”

Sometime after the flood and the first freeze and well before the wind storm and subsequent attack of the Ents, our minivan Vinny got rear-ended and went into the shop (this was during the pre-rat era).

We’ve been driving a rental car for the past 3 weeks, a sweet rental car, a rental car exactly like Vinny only 5 years younger and much more pimped out.

Today we got Vinny back.

2:45pm — After determining that the “big storm” was just a “big non-event,” we head out to a doctor’s appointment in the rental van.

3:30pm — The body shop calls to tell us our van is “ready for pickup”, a secret code that means “if you don’t come pick it up today and return your rental car, you’ll have to pay a gazillion dollars because the insurance company won’t be footin’ the bill any more.”Â  I get the hint and we head to Hertz.

3:45 — Crazy hail pelts my skin as I frantically scoop crumbs from the car at a gas station.  Have you ever traveled 2500 miles in a borrowed car with 2 kids in tow, only to be suddenly told that you had 15 minutes to get the car back to its meticulous owner?

3:50 — Magoo lays waste to the Hertz office, attempting to use the contents of the water cooler to create a recreational wading pool.  Brian’s co-worker distracts the children with a nerf ball while we finish filling out the paperwork.

4:00 — We begin the one mile trip to the body shop in the continuing hail with Brian at the wheel.  I am SOOO glad not to be driving.  He possibly thinks my children are cute and still considers having a child of his own one day.  Tee hee hee.


4:15 — The hail turns to snow and Brian carefully makes his way down a hill as cars are spinning out all around us.  Soon no cars are spinning because no cars are moving.  Traffic comes to a complete stop and Laylee wants to know why we’re not going anywhere.  I call the body shop and the owner agrees to stay open late until I can get there.

snow-drive34:20 — I ask Brian his name and introduce him to Laylee.  It looks like we’re in it for the long haul.  Magoo cannot stand being strapped in anymore.  The sight of me sitting next to him doing nothing to ease his sadness is too much to bear.  He begins to wail.  “Brian, do you mind if I move to the front seat with you.  I think Magoo will be happier if he can’t see me directly.”Â  Brian would be much obliged to have me ride shotgun while my son screams like a banshee in the backseat.  It would be the best thing ever.

4:25 — Magoo calms down and the peasants rejoice.

4:30 —I remember that I can’t remember the last time Laylee’s been to the bathroom.  I ask Brian not to mention anything related to the p-o-t-t-y.

4:40 — Laylee urgently calls out that she needs to go POTTY.  This means NOW.  I ask her to wait.  She can’t.  I tell her she can go in the snow on the side of the road or I can change her into one of Magoo’s diapers right there in the back seat.  “That’s alright, isn’t it Brian?  The car’s not going anywhere.”Â  Of course it’s alright. 

5:00 — Having convinced the loudly protesting Laylee by brute force that a diaper IS a good idea, I get back in the front seat with Brian.  Realizing that this may turn out to be bloggable, I ask Brian if I can take his picture.


5:15 — We still aren’t moving, Laylee and Magoo are starving to death and the only food in the car is emergency protein bars.  I walk up and down the cars trying to buy goldfish crackers from the stranded travelers but find no suppliers.  Motherhood can make you desperate.

5:20 — I return to the car empty-handed, vowing to keep a Costco pack of animal crackers in my handbag till college do we part.  When I suggest to Brian that I may run over to the office building up the hill to see if they have a vending machine, he graciously offers to do it for me.  According to Brian, the kids asked for me when I left the last time.  I think he’s making it up.

5:25 — Traffic moves 3 inches.  Laylee asks where Brian is and begs me not to leave him.  I make no promises.


5:30 — Brian returns with chips, Cheetos, a Twix bar and a head covered in snow.  Apparently the machine wouldn’t take my $5 so he paid for the snacks himself.  I kiss his feet and the children munch away happily.


5:45 — At Laylee’s request I begin singing Kookaburra, Baby Beluga and the 3 Bears song.  Our lyrically challenged car rental return worker turns down my offer to join in the singing.

snow-drive7Shortly after 6pm we arrived at the shop, transferred our ten tons of stuff into our beloved van who now looks prettier than when we first met him.  After bidding Brian a fond farewell, we drove 2 blocks to a local shopping spot, where we ate dinner, went to the movies and just generally wasted time for 4 hours.  At 10pm we headed home across the layer of ice covered in hail covered in snow.  It was like driving on ice coated gravel 15 miles per hour.  Around 11:30 we arrived home after the scariest drive of my life.

I will say that the conclusion of this weather event is the best we’ve had all season.  We still have heat and power, several inches of snow to play in, fresh banana bread to eat and a new friend Brian at the Hertz dealership.  Last I heard he was planning to walk back to work and try and find somewhere to sleep in the area.  We wish him well.  I hope he’s man enough to have kids one day despite the hazing we put him through.  They are worth it.  I bet Brian had no one to comb their hair with a dinglehopper during dinner last night, no one to wipe cheese dust off of, no one to build an imaginary snow cave and sip hot cocoa with this morning.  Poor guy… on so many levels.


This entry was posted in around town, driving, kid stuff, near-death, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Hertz So Good

  1. Amber says:

    Ahhh, but what a great sport he was about it! On our flight home for Christmas, we received a collective “I-hope-they-don’t-sit-near-me-with-those-two-little-brats” kinda look as we walked down the aisle. Too bad they were good. It would’ve served ’em all right to have them scream the whole time!

  2. Meadow says:

    It is currently snowing here, I think I will go pack a bag of treats right now. Thanks for the reminder.

    I’m glad your van is all better 😉

  3. The Wiz says:

    I want to see you walking around with a Costco sized bin of animal crakers at all times. Those suckers are HUGE!

    Brian’s actually pretty good looking. Your husband must be super jealous he missed out on such a wonderful adventure. 🙂

    My kids would have eaten the emergency protein bars. They love those things, for some odd reason. And I would have given you crackers if I had them, but I probably would have just had water bottles. I’m going to carry crackers now just in case I meet you in some awful storm. You are so brave to be walking around begging strangers for goldfish.

  4. Farm Wife says:

    God bless Brian and his snack gettting little self! Can you just imagine his version of this adventure?

  5. Amanda says:

    How funny!! I can’t believe it took you two hours to go one mile. Brian sounds like he will make a great dad one day. This post gives new meaning to the 72 hour kit for your car, that includes goldfish of course.

  6. Telah says:

    Hi. Just found your site today. What a funny story. I wonder if Brian has a blog? I agree with FW that it would be interesting to hear his side of the story. Thanks for the laugh!

  7. Tina says:

    What a great guy! And what a patient mom! I would have been going bonkers.

  8. Oh my goodness, this is the best post of your life. I wish I knew Brian’s blog address. He must have one, and it’s probably hilarious to read the account from the other side of things. Loved the pictures!

  9. Brian the Hertz guy… the look on his face is priceless. Magoo screaming, Laylee wailing about the potty, and this weird mother saying, “Oh, by the way, I write a blog. Can I take your picture? It might come in handy.” I hope he found somewhere to sleep, too. Glad your car’s OK and you got home in one piece.

  10. You must live in my neck of the woods, although you had it much worse than I did! I only slid down one hill and luckly didn’t hit anything. It is kind of freakish when your breaks don’t work because you are on a thick layer of ice.

    Glad Brian was around to help you out … love the part of you asking for his picture 🙂 ! That was classic.

  11. jeana says:

    Boy are you on a roll! This is funny on so many levels. I love that Brian let you capture his deer in the headlights look.

  12. surcie says:

    Did you tell Brian you’d be blogging the experience? Oh, the drama! Girl, you can tell a story. I love “Magoo lays waste to the Hertz office.”

    BTW, thanks for still loving me. I still love you, too!

  13. MyBestInvest says:

    You are absolutely hilarious! At least when things are grim, fodder for your blog is always the silver lining! Like the others said, I would LOVE to hear Brian tell this story!

  14. Mary says:

    Wahahaha! Brian’s expression in that picture is so perfect. What a helper he was! From start to finish, I’m amazed at your adventure!

  15. Sketchy says:

    For some reason my screen is showing all the comments with crossed out lines…I’m getting a bit of a complex about it.

    And I’m sure Brian will be just fine…he hardly looks emotionally traumatized at all in that picture.

  16. Lee says:

    I absolutely love your outlook it is so great!
    Glad you are stuff!
    And I am sure Brian will have kids one day.

  17. Liz says:


    (sorry for shouting. I got a little carried away with the caps lock, but it accurately reflects my concern about the LACK of white stuff in January)

  18. How funny!

    The best thing at Costco are those 50-pound cartons of Goldfish.
    Goldfish must be laced with crack because we all can’t get enough of them.

  19. That’s the last time I let you guys borrow my dinglehopper. To use it at the table, for the LOVE!!! Did you really take your kids to the mall for dinner and a movie and survive to see the light of day? I can’t even bear the thought of leaving the house with my 3, with no strapping man to do the dirty work. Well, I guess Brian counts, but you didn’t take him to the movie, did you?

  20. Oh, and do you think Dan would design a little head for me, too?

  21. Pieces says:

    I’m still counting my blessings that I arrived home on 3:30 that day and didn’t have to leave the house again. Your account is hilarious! Getting great blog fodder is the one thing that makes days like that bearable. I think you should share your blog with Brian.

  22. Shalee says:

    I would send this post to Hertz as an employee recommendation for Brian’s heroic efforts. He might get a bonus or something!

    Actually, I’m serious. Companies keep records of great customer relations like this.

    And you girl are the funniest thing this side of the Mississippi! (Did you notice that I gave you the bigger half?)

  23. Tonya says:

    I just want to know if Brian has started looking into the V word procedures…..that will be the test to see how well he really took the whole experience!

    Great post!

  24. em says:

    “Realizing that this may turn out to be bloggable, I ask Brian if I can take his picture”…
    Ok, that made me laugh so hard I started choking. Methinks reading your blog is dangerous!

  25. Stephanie says:

    I officially love this post.

  26. grammyelin says:

    Oh, Sweetheart…Don’t you ever have “just ordinary days”? I completely feel your pain and admire your ability to cope in the face of adversity. Wow! You were lucky to get Brian as your helper. What a good sport. Hope you are able to stay home and veg. — very slowly all day today. Love you!

  27. KYouell says:

    Wow! Brave, brave mom. First leaving the kiddos with Brian to forage and then the mall and a movie. I want to be you when I grow up. On the other hand, if being you means I don’t have ordinary days, maybe not! 🙂

  28. JD says:

    Brian probably slept peacefully in the back of the rental van. This had me giggling. Hope you don’t have many more of these adventures. But the pictures really couldn’t have been better!!

  29. californiazenmom says:

    Crying my eyes out laughing so hard!!! I COULD mention something about how terrible it is when the weather dips down to 50 degrees here and they consider closing the schools, but I won’t. 🙂

  30. Aaah, the Pre-rat Era. Oh yes, I recall it very well. Weren’t we all a bit more innocent then.
    Brian sounds so nice, it’s almost like he’s part of the family now. Now, had he joined in to sing “Baby beluga” (my favorite song) well, then, there’s no end to the praises for Brian the Hertz guy.
    I love Laylee with the dinglehopper , and poor Magoo, he looks positively not comfy/happy there.
    What a fantastic adventure you had. Thanks for taking those pictures and sharing 🙂

  31. kate says:

    I wonder if Brian has a blog?

    Oh and I left a comment on your flickr site again about him!

  32. Melissa says:

    Yep….we’re in Portland and I’m ‘hoping’ my poor front-wheel drive car makes it up our steeeeeep hill to get to my oldest daughter’s soccer game. They managed to sand/gravel/salt all the streets in town, w/ the exception of our hill. And, this would be the first game we’ve (me, and the other three kiddo’s) missed 🙁 We moved here from Utah, and I’ll tell you the ice thing has got to go. Give me good ‘ol powdery snow any day of the week.

    Thanks for entertaining me each week!

  33. Alissa says:

    p.s. living in florida has major perks re: winter weather affecting travel

  34. Brian says:

    I am flattered. Especially when people can appreciate customer service, but do I want to have kids. Only if I can be as patient as the daring young mom. What an experince 🙂 I am just glad that we got there safely. By the way, I did walk back (3 miles in the snow) and loved every bit of it…… I felt good about it all!

    Kirkland Hertz signing off

  35. lammyann says:

    Could you come here to Kansas…because the customer service here doesn’t even COMPARE to the awesomeness of your calibur!
    Yer our hero, Brian!
    May my son turn out to be just like ya!

  36. kate says:

    That brian is fabulous! You dont run into too many great people in retail anymore.

    I thought I had commented here but it must have been on Flickr.

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