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forgotten to check their driver's licenses. Well, they are in good company. God only knows why I took my passport with me, but I found it in my backpack and well, they let me on the plane with a passport. So, if you are a terrorist, be sure to carry multiple ID’s. So how was I going to rent a car now? I arrived in LA, found Manish, who had traveled on another airline, and headed to Hertz with the plan for him to rent the car. He had not yet driven in the US, but here was his opportunity. My license apparently expires ever four years (I now know), but in India, once you get a license, it is good for over 30 years until you are 50 and need to get your eyes re-examined. Well, it was a little worn and hard to read. The rental guy quizzed us a lot. Manish offered that I could drive the car, but the online deal I had purchased said Manish had to be the driver. After a magnifying glass and a quiz, Manish got the car. He bought the upgraded insurance for more than the price of the rental and for that the guy offered to add my name to the drivers list. He apparently glossed over the expiration date on my license, since we had spent 20 minutes finding the one on Manish’s card. Since he was concerned about driving, I drove off the lot - or at least in that direction, when the guy at the exit asked for my license, he noted that bloody ex-


piration date and Manish moved behind the steering wheel. He couldn’t figure out how to move the seat, then finally found the “gear shift” and got us going if fits and spurts off the Hertz lot. I think fits and spurts would describe Manish putting his foot on the clutch several times in a car with an automatic transmission that only has a brake. For some reason Hertz prefers drivers with “valid expiration dates” 20 years off, rather than air-heads who don’t check their expiration date. Two blocks later, the illegal driver resumed the wheel for four days of law-breaking in LA. Not wanting to be captured on video as we returned to the Hertz lot (I know they don’t check the license on return), I offered the car back to Manish one stop light before the Hertz Car Return. He pulled slowly out into the right lane of the 4 lane road and 50 feet later at the light, Manish again put the clutch to the floor and shifted the gear shift into what he thought was neutral - however, the car was still an automatic transmission, or at least up to that point where the gearshift went into Park. I put it back in drive and kept my hand on the gear shift the rest of the way back. It turns out that Manish’s car in Delhi has manual brakes, so even the remaining quarter mile was “entertaining”. The next time you are looking at that used rental car for a great price, check out if it was driven

Gazette 2007

Gazette 2007  

Thomas family newsletter for 2007