Most newlyweds would love to have their own car, but on our kollel budget, leasing a new car or even owning a secondhand one was simply not affordable. Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, we’d try to borrow a car from our parents or another family member.
That is, until one of my friends told us about the $9.99-per-day weekend special at a local car rental. We were elated and started to rent a car at least two weekends a month. We’d get the car on Friday, use it as needed, and return it on Monday.
Being a frequent renter entitled us to many perks and privileges. All the employees knew us and gave us VIP service, especially Mike, the manager, who would always upgrade us to a fancier car free of charge and let us keep it longer for the lowest rate possible.
This routine continued for a long time; my husband went in on Fridays, was greeted warmly by the manager, and drove away in the nicest car on the lot. Whenever a busy day like Erev Purim rolled around and the place was full of people, Mike would spot my husband in the crowd, move him to the front of the line and send him on his way.
One Friday when my husband arrived, he didn’t see the manager. When he inquired, he was told that Mike was working in another location, but since the other employees knew us, we continued to receive royal service.
Months passed. Then one Friday my husband walked in and saw that Mike had returned. After shaking my husband’s hand, he asked him to come to his private office. “How long are you renting the car for today?” he asked.
“The usual,” my husband replied. “Just for the weekend.”
“Jacob, I want to offer you a deal,” Mike said. “I’ll let you have a brand-new Chevy Tahoe for a week for the same price you’ve been paying for a weekend.”
My husband’s eyes widened. “What are the conditions?” he asked.
“Give me half the amount in cash.”
My husband phoned me right away and told me about the offer. “Sure!” I responded immediately. “Why not?” I was very excited. A little question mark popped up in my head, but I quickly dismissed it.