This year’s mission trip adventure actually begins a few days before our departure for Chattanooga, Tennessee. After months of careful, deliberate and prayerful preparation, I called the van rental company (West Coast Van Rentals, Jacksonville, FL) on Thursday to confirm our Saturday pickup for Sunday’s departure. We have rented from them every summer since our first mission trip eight years ago. Never a problem. Until this year.
My heart skipped a beat when I heard the words, “We don’t have anything for you.” Are you kidding? I called you a month ago. You checked on the availability of a 15-passenger van, quoted me a price, and said we were all set. “Who did you speak with?” I spoke with you! You said it would be ready for us. Just like last year, and every year before that. The voice on the phone said, “This really bothers me.” Oh, really? This bothers you? We are supposed to be leaving in three days! It might bother you, but I’m beginning to feel a little panicky.
I called Mark, our driver, and shared the situation. I didn’t really think we’d find anything, but we started a search for a van to rent for our trip. How about this one: E-Z Van Rental at the Jacksonville airport. A little far, but maybe they have something. When we call, the person on the phone insists that they no longer have a rental office in Jacksonville. Oh, really? I have just gone to your web site and reserved a van at the Jacksonville airport. A little too “E-Z.” Forget that.
Let’s look closer to home. Hertz has a place just a few miles from the church. Online, I reserve a Chevy Tahoe. But I feel uneasy. That was too easy. So I call. The person who answers is polite, but says, “We never have that vehicle here.” But I just reserved on online. “Sorry, we don’t have anything like that.”
Well this isn’t going to work. But we do have a plan B. Mark has a large truck and our other adult leader, Rosemary, has a minivan. We can take two vehicles and still make out trip. Problem solved.
Thankfully, this was the greatest challenge of the whole trip. Chattanooga, here we come!