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Hertz Shelby Mustang Birthday Blowout

by George on February 14, 2011

July 18, 2006

Somewhat just for giggles and due in some part to my upcoming birthday, I decided to rent a ’06 Shelby Mustang from Hertz.  It was an additional $150 a day but I figured I could afford it if I swapped heroin for methadone for a couple of days.  The car was a hoot – sort of.  It sounded awesome, but the good people at Hertz and Ford went to the trouble of preventing you from turning the traction control off.  Quite a mystery that.

The Hertz Mustang was a great ride, but renting it was like closing on a house.

The Hertz Mustang was a great ride, but only when all four tires have air.

Anyway, I was returning it to Miami International Airport when the left rear tire blew out.

Fortunately, since low profile tires have exceptionally rigid sidewalls I was able to get off to the side of the highway with not much fuss.  Unfortunately, this provided me an opportunity to deal with the Mensa candidates manning the phones at Hertz’ roadside assistance group.  These people couldn’t find their backside with two hands.

So, there I am sitting on the side of a fairly busy highway and a kindly citizen (or serial killer with a lot of time on his hands) stopped to see if I was ok.  It was a young, swarthy guy who decided that I needed his company for, oh, the rest of the night – or so it seemed.  He just wouldn’t leave.  So instead of sitting in a nice air-conditioned car, I spent the next hour or so in the remarkable heat and humidity of Miami in the summer making small talk with a guy who is either the nicest guy in the world, or a serial killer having some ambivalence about my suitability as a murder victim – just because I hate to make someone feel uncomfortable.  So, for the entire time I am talking with this guy I am trying to stay at least an arm’s length away from him waiting for god-knows-what to happen.

Finally, my wife calls needing tech support for a wireless issue at home.  I seized this opportunity to get back in the air-conditioned car.  My loyal companion – the serial killer, not the wife – waited outside of the car for another 25 minutes (before he finally left) while I guided the lovely missus Jones through a multitude of troubleshooting activities before sending her to the back of our wireless modem in NJ so she could, you know, PLUG THE BLASTED THING IN!

Well, after almost 3 hours of this roadside delight a van showed up instead of a flatbed.  The jack the guy brought wouldn’t fit under the car.  Fantastic!  Another half hour goes by before an appropriate-sized jack is found to lift a freakishly-cool looking Shelby Mustang off the ground.  Finally, I get the car back to Hertz … only to wait another 20 minutes because a manager needs to check the car back in.

A flat tire on a low-profile car can be problematic

Oops! Looks like this horse thew a shoe.

So, after I garroted the entire night shift at the Hertz location adjacent to Miami International Airport, I got back to my hotel just in time to see Letterman sign-off.

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