The rental car company gave this guy simple instructions for returning the car. He took it as a personal challenge—his attempt to fulfill the challenge in a hilarious example of malicious compliance.
Taking Instructions to Heart
The protagonist of our tale, Mac, finds himself on a mission to return a rental car to Hertz with one clear instruction – “Bring it back empty.” But what happens when he takes this instruction to heart in the most literal way possible? Keep reading to discover how his obedience became a memorable experience for everyone involved!
Mac was visiting his grandmother on the Gold Coast, and as usual, he rented a car from Hertz to get around. The company offered a prepaid fuel option where Mac could pay an amount and not have to refuel the car before returning it. As someone who frequently rented cars, he was quite familiar with this option and often chose it.
The Prepaid Fuel Option
On this particular trip, Mac rented a shiny new manual Toyota Corolla and opted for the prepaid fuel option. As he picked up the keys, the Hertz staff informed him that he only needed to return the empty car. Mac went about his trip, running errands for his grandmother and enjoying the beach until the morning of his departure.
As he was heading out to catch his 15:00 flight, the fuel light on the car came on. Mac remembered the Hertz staff’s words to bring the car back empty, so he decided to stop at a 7/11 and put 2 liters of fuel in the car.
The light didn’t turn off, but Mac figured he’d be safe given the distance he needed to cover. However, he still couldn’t shake off the anxious feeling that he might not make it to the airport.
He Cut It Close
As he got closer to the airport, the engine started to splutter. Mac became increasingly worried and thought he might run out of fuel just meters away from his destination. Nevertheless, the car kept going until it finally stalled.
With the momentum he had, Mac managed to pull the car into a spot marked “AVIS,” but it only made it halfway in. He tried to restart the car, but it was no use. He got out of the car and pushed it the rest of the way into bay 109, 11 bays short of the first marked Hertz.
Mac was devastated. He was so close to his goal of returning the car empty, yet so far. He wondered if those 11 bays meant he had failed. After a moment of torment, he walked into the terminal with his carry-on roller bag in one hand and the car keys in the other. As he approached the rental returns counter, the same young woman who had handed him the keys asked if she could help him.
He’d Come So Close
“I’m returning a car,” Mac said, handing over the paperwork. The woman asked where he had parked it, and Mac replied, “Bay 109; it says Avis.” Without looking up, the woman shrugged and radioed the parking lot attendant, “Return, 109.” She then turned her attention back to Mac and asked if he had filled up the tank.
“No,” Mac said. “I mean, it ran out of fuel as I drove in. I had to push it into the parking spot.” The helpful woman gave him a blank stare for a full ten seconds before saying, “Wait, you let it run out?”
“You said to return it empty, so I accepted your challenge. It seems I win,” Mac said with a mixture of pride and embarrassment. The staff member turned to her colleague, pointed at Mac, and said, “Prepaid fuel, and he says it ran out in the car park.” The guy looked at Mac with a smirk and said, “Really?”
“It’s Out of fuel”
“Well, it wouldn’t start back up,” Mac replied as someone came in from outside to retrieve the keys. “It’s out of fuel,” the woman said. “That’s okay. I’ll run it up to Shell after I’ve washed it,” the guy replied. Both terminal staff members looked at him as the woman, looking at Mac, said, “No, the customer says he had to push it into the spot.” Both the guy’s eyes widened, and he said, “I have to see this!”
He walked out with Mac, and the guy from behind the counter followed them. He opened the car and tried to start it – it was cranking but wouldn’t turn over. All of them burst out laughing!
“I’ve never had one fully out before,” the employee said, so Mac simply told him, “The woman in there told me to bring it back empty,” as he walked inside, laughing.
Redditors loved this guy’s story. One user said, “I worked for Hertz when they were still offering this deal. In my 3 years there, the closest anyone got to matching your greatness was a gold member that left a Mazda 3 so low that I ran out of gas 2 blocks short of the gas station that was 4 blocks away. Good job!”
What do you think? Did you enjoy this story?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vadym Pastukh. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.