The Rental Truck

Hinton had rented the moving truck for four days and 1350 miles. Even with fuel, insurance, hotels, and food, it was cheaper to rent a round trip truck than a one-way, so he went with it. Three hundred of the additional $350 insurance he purchased would be returned to him if he came back with no accidents or moving violations. Otherwise, he’d have to forfeit that amount and possibly pay additional damages over $10,000.

The move itself was uneventful but tedious as most moves are. Loading, travel, staying in hotels, being cautious every step of the way and then unloading and returning the truck. He took his 15-year-old son, Ben, on the return trip back to keep him company. They’d finish the trip by driving their car back, hauling the very last of the breakables.

“What kind of arrangement do you have that you could drive this back and for the rental company to still make out?” Ben asked.

“I don’t know, Son. Screwy if you ask me, all that extra mileage. But I don’t make the rules or the fares,” said Hinton. “I ran the numbers and I’d come out ahead by a couple hundred dollars, that is, if I can return this with no accidents or damages.”

Ben said, “So far so good and we’ve got less than a hundred miles to go.”

“Don’t jinx me now.”

As Hinton pulled the truck into the office to check it in, he raised his eyes toward heaven with a smile on his face, proud that he had been cautious the whole way and that the truck made it there in one piece. Just as he was ready to let out a huge sigh of relief, the truck came to an abrupt stop. Ben’s glasses went flying and Hinton banged his head against the steering wheel. No airbags were deployed. After making sure his son was fine, Hinton staggered out of the truck and examined the damages. The roof of the truck rolled up like a can of sardines for about a full foot. Ben came around to his father.

The drive-thru overhang signage noted in large lettering that the rental office was four inches smaller than the height of his truck.

“What a horrible design,” Hinton said.

Ben said, “Naa, Dad. Looks like a feature to me, not a flaw. My guess is the office folks will say they’ve been meaning to get that roof raised.”

Hinton put his arm around his son and said, “You’re learning, son. A bit cynical, perhaps, but learning.”


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