Enterprise puts a customer on the road in the nick of time

Sometimes, travel isn’t fun. Jane Hatch’s last-minute winter flight from Baltimore to Milwaukee was for the worst reason of all.

She needed to attend a family funeral right away.

Hatch’s flight did not go well, and, she feared, neither would her Enterprise car rental upon arrival.

But they had better plans.

As with past air travel, renting a car years ago (okay, when I was young) was reserved for a privileged few, frequently requiring cash — or an exclusive Diner’s Club or BankAmericard. Yikes. If you knew what these were back then, you worked in an office with no PCs, traveled without cell phones, and never left home without traveler’s checks.

Today, car rentals are more affordable and so competitive our Forum might give the impression rental vendors with misleading add-on insurance fees and questionable post-return repair charges are vying with the airlines for adverse attention.

While some Enterprise offices have not been immune, they usually remain a go-to vendor for a decent value — and appear to be why they are the preference of choice for many car repair shops and insurance companies that provide loaners. It doesn’t hurt that they invest in their employees as a primary asset. Who knew? Money Magazine tends to agree, putting Enterprise in their top three.

“I want to share a positive travel experience since you receive so many negative ones,” Hatch began. This is the kind of opening The Good News Guy lives for.

“I sadly and suddenly had to travel to the Milwaukee airport (MKE) for a funeral,” Hatch went on. “While at the Baltimore airport, I received a text from my airline informing me my departing flight is delayed by two hours which could make me late for the event.”

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Sigh. Isn’t that the way? In fairness, it was winter.

“Out of desperation, I considered a different departing flight to MKE via a plane change in Minneapolis,” she added. “But gate personnel indicated this alternative is not likely to get me there any faster, so I decided to wait for my original flight.”

She eventually made it to MKE and by the time she raced to the Enterprise desk, it was not looking good. She now had to wait for the check-in paperwork process.


Please don’t tell me this will be one of those times she will have to decline all the aggressively pitched upgrade and add-on fee options one by one.

But not here and not now. On this day, Hatch was in the best of car rental hands.

“I was afraid I might still miss the funeral and blurted out to the Enterprise desk what was happening,” continued Hatch. “No rental was ever processed faster. Jim, the desk agent, said ‘Let’s get you out of here,’ then took me to my car, turned on the headlights for me because it was snowing, and said ‘Go.'”

She did.

And she made it.

With just seven minutes to spare.

At a time when car rental agencies seem to be on the hard-sell hot seat, this particular office would have none of that.

Stuff happens. Be polite and sincerely ask for help. Despite all the negativity and complaining around us, there are people out there eagerly waiting to be nice and appreciate your business. Let them.

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Someone did something kind and thoughtful enough to spur a customer to spread the word — and isn’t that what any business would want?

Hatch imparts another critical lesson for many of us surrounded by increasingly glass-half-empty attitudes. She was able to extract the positive during a time of extreme sadness and took a moment to pay it forward. And maybe if we tell others about such things, as Hatch did, companies may give compassionate customer service a second thought as a strategic business plan.

“I never would have made the funeral without the kindness and efficiency of the Enterprise staff at MKE,” concluded Hatch. “On a cold, sad, dreary day, they lit a light for me.”

And for Jim, maybe this will help show our appreciation.

Andrew Der

Der is an environmental consultant and travel journalist specializing in water science, nature, eco-travel, and cultural destinations

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