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These Experiences Can Drive Travelers Crazy

Sun., Feb. 5, 1995, midnight

Traveling isn’t always the carefree fun it’s cracked up to be. To prove that point, and simultaneously reinforce Murphy’s Law, Thrifty Car Rental asked some of their customers to submit personal experiences in their second annual “Worst Travel Nightmares” contest.

The first-place winner was David L. Gray Sr. of Hopewell, Va. Here’s his story:

Gray, an Army major on assignment, was justifiably impressed with the red-hot Thunderbird he rented from a mom-and-pop car rental company in Seattle. He had no idea how truly “hot” the car was, however, until he made the trip back from Portland at 4 a.m. and found himself the subject of a manhunt. It wasn’t long before he and his red Thunderbird were flanked by a phalanx of state troopers with shotguns. After an intense interrogation, Gray learned he was the prime suspect in the reported theft of the vehicle, which had actually occurred several years earlier. When the “computer glitch” was resolved, Gray was released only to find he had missed his flight to L.A. “To this day,” Gray writes, “years later, I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.”

(His prize package includes four days at Disney World in Florida, airfare, hotel and a car rental from Thrifty.)


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