Pitch­ing a fit at En­ter­prise

GA Voice - - That's What She Said -

I thought it was a good idea. I mean, what could go wrong when trav­el­ing alone with a 10-month-old?

I re­cently flew to Florida to meet Katie Jo and our son for a va­ca­tion, and since she had to re­turn to At­lanta be­fore me, I rented a car to bring my son and I home. Upon ar­rival in At­lanta, my think­ing was that I’d drive to my car at the air­port, trans­fer the lug­gage, and then re­turn the rental. Best laid plans...

First, my Park and Ride lot was closed. All the gates, oddly, were low­ered on a Satur­day af­ter­noon, so I was forced to take the packed rental to En­ter­prise. An em­ployee sug­gested they take me to my car in the rental so I wouldn’t have to deal with the lug­gage and baby twice, for which I was re­lieved.

As we left, their driver asked, “Where are we go­ing?” I showed him my park­ing ticket, and he re­sponded by ask­ing me the same ques­tion. I pointed in the gen­eral di­rec­tion of the lot, but the sys­tem of one-way streets around the air­port pre­vented us from go­ing out the way I came in. He made a few turns, which took us off the main path, then pulled into a gas sta­tion. “You go in and ask.” “Ex­cuse me?” I re­sponded, shocked. “You go in and ask,” he said, point­ing to the en­trance.

I asked him how would the gas sta­tion at­ten­dant know the way any bet­ter than he did, es­pe­cially since he worked at the air­port? I also re­minded him my son was in the car, and there was no way I was leav­ing with­out him or wrestling him out of the car seat for what I knew was a fruit­less ven­ture.

In frus­tra­tion, I sig­naled him to go back to En­ter­prise so I could fig­ure things out back there. He fol­lowed my in­struc­tions, parked in the rental lot and got out of the still-run­ning car with­out a word.

“Per­fect storm” is a term that de­scribes the dev­as­tat­ing re­sult when sep­a­rate forces “I didn’t move to­ward her; I yelled at her as I opened the car doors and be­gan pulling my bags to the curb. I was let­ting her and ev­ery­one else know I would sim­ply sit there with my kid and call a cab, since I just wanted to be home and would fig­ure out how to come back and get my car later.” come to­gether in a pretty dra­matic clash. For me the fact I had been up part of the night with a teething child, had been on the road all morn­ing, and had no idea how I was go­ing to get my car­load of items—or us—home opened up the flood­gates. I be­came that mother, the one who pitches a fit in public, and in a half-yell/half-cry kind of way.

I ex­ited the car shortly af­ter my driver and be­gan ad­dress­ing a man­ager in my range of vi­sion. I didn’t move to­ward her; I yelled at her as I opened the car doors and be­gan pulling my bags to the curb. I was let­ting her and ev­ery­one else know I would sim­ply sit there with my kid and call a cab, since I just wanted to be home and would fig­ure out how to come back and get my car later.

The man­ager, Ki­ley Kirk­patrick, wasn’t go­ing to have that. She braved my hys­ter­i­cal rant, putting my bags back in the rental. Ki­ley took my park­ing ticket, called the lot, put its ex­act ad­dress in her GPS, and took me there her­self. She phys­i­cally moved a low­ered gate, got me in, and en­ter­tained Mr. Carter un­til I’d emp­tied the rental.

Can one per­son make a dif­fer­ence? Ab­so­lutely. Ki­ley went above and be­yond for an ag­i­tated cus­tomer I’m sure she would have rather avoided, and in do­ing so, made sure I’ll rent with En­ter­prise again.

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