Hmmmm...and Uh-oh....

August 25, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-

I'm just back from visiting a Flight Attendant friend who is living in South Florida temporarily. I "jumpseated" down to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on Delta Airlines Sunday morning. The term "jumpseat", when applied to our standby travel, is sorta misleading: we don't sit in the actual jumpseats on other airlines--there has to be an empty passenger seat. My airline has negotiated many "jumpseat agreements" for our Flight Attendants--and while it isn't nearly as comprehensive as the agreements the pilot unions have negotiated--it is a great benefit to have available. (Especially since my airline does not have much service to the South Florida area.)

So, I jumpseated down to Atlanta (ATL) then on to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) with Delta. Had a car reservation at Budget Rent a Car. At the Budget counter, I gave the guy there my driver's license and my credit card. He is busy clickety-clicking on his keyboard. "Hmmmm," he says. Clickety-click, clickety-click. "Hmmmm," I hear again. "I'm new here," he says as he picks up the phone and calls a manager-type lady to help him figure out his "Hmmmms."

The manager-type comes up, clickety-clicks on the keyboard and says, in a very loud voice, "Have you had any moving violations in the last three years?" "Why, yes-I had a speeding ticket in the last year." "Well, we don't rent to people who have had a moving violation within the last three years."

"B-b-but, I made the reservation online and there was nothing that said I couldn't rent a car with you." And in a louder, more condescending voice, she booms: "Sorry, ma'am, we don't rent to speeders." With that, the manager-type walked away, leaving me with the new guy working the counter.

"Ma'am," he says, "you can go over to Willy-Nilly Rental Cars (named changed to protect the helpful) and they will rent you a car. I used to work for them, and they only check to see if you have had a DWI*--you haven't had a DWI, have you?"

"No, no I haven't--and thank you very much for that information--I appreciate your help!"

I made my way over to the Willy-Nilly Rental Car counter, where a very nice lady helped me. I handed over my driver's license and credit card and she started the rental car process.

We chatted about this and that--and when she asked me where I worked, and I found out that she used to be a Flight Attendant in the early 70's-she flew charter flights back in the days of girdles and white gloves. Then she said, in a most dreadful voice, "Uh-oh."


Yes, uh-oh.

She handed me back my driver's license and let me know that it had expired last week on my birthday. Uh-oh, indeed! Dammit, girl! (I knew it was expiring, but I thought I had until the end of the month.)

Well--what do I do now? I need a car to drive up to West Palm Beach to visit my friend-who is without a car while she is there. A cab both ways would surely cost $100 each way, plus a cab to lunch and back. Nope. Not even an option.

The lady at the counter says, "If you have a laptop, maybe you can renew it online."


Because I already had an online account with the Department of Motor Vehicles, I found a corner chair and using my laptop and the airport's wi-fi, was able to renew my Virginia driver's license online.


A quick conversation with the Willy-Nilly Rental Car Manager and showing him the web page that proved I had a valid license (since my actual physical license did not reflect that it had been renewed) and I was on my way!

Lunch, a little shopping and two haircuts later--it was good to see my friend! We had such a great afternoon that I stayed longer than I had planned to. While driving back to Fort Lauderdale, I realized I was not going to get back to Washington (DCA) that night--it was going to be too late and there were no more flights. I could make it to ATL or Charlotte (CLT) but decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale, where I used to live and it was "low season." My daughter, Casey helped me make a hotel reservation and I settled in for the night.

Yesterday morning, I had plenty of time to drive East on Sunrise Boulevard and then South on A1A, which gave me a spectacular view of the post-sunrise Fort Lauderdale beach, the wave wall and the palm trees against the morning sky, before I drove to the airport.

After dropping off the barely-obtained rental car, I headed over to US Airways in Terminal 3. Caught a flight to CLT, and then onward to DCA. Always good to be home, but it was terrific to see my friend! I am so grateful for these jumpseat agreements!

*Driving While Intoxicated


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August 25, 2009 at 2:20 PM delete

I don't know what impressed me more- the fact that you could renew your driver's license online or that a rental-car-company-clerk can check your "criminal" record before they give you a car! never heard of that!

good to hear you had a great time in Florida!

greetings from Austria,

(who either can't drive 55 ;))

August 25, 2009 at 8:44 PM delete

You can tell story, girl! Funny. Glad it all worked out okay.

All the best!
August 25, 2009 at 10:45 PM delete

That's cool that you were able to renew your driver's license online...

Did they make you take an online eye exam? LOL...

Perhaps one of those where you have to type what you see in the box to verify that you are a real person type of thing... Hate those :)