When traditional car renting puts date night in danger

Feb 14, 2023 3 min read

James bounces his toe nervously on the drab office carpet. The line hasn’t moved for probably ten minutes, and no one behind the counter at Big Car Rental seems to be in much of a hurry.

“Excuse me,” James asks the woman in front of him. “How long were you waiting before I got here?”

“Oh, geez,” she sighs. “Felt like an hour.”

Panic sets in. After their wonderful first date last week, James promised Emma he’d pick her up for a night at the theater. At this rate, he’ll still be waiting to fill out paperwork when the curtain raises an hour from now.

James starts typing out an apologetic text to Emma. “I know how much you wanted to see the play tonight, but…” The pit in his stomach grows heavier as a notification falls from the top of James’ smartphone. It’s his close friend Austin, requesting a nerves report before the “all-important” second date.

James pauses, remembering that Austin just got a new Camry the other week. If Austin loans me his ride for the night, he thought, I can still save this second date with Emma.

“You’re calling me,” Austin quips, “when you should be sweeping Emma off her feet right now?”

“I need your help,” James says. “The line at the rental car place is too long, and—”

“You’re at a rental car place?” Austin’s voice faded as he threw his head back in laughter.

“Is it okay if I borrow your car tonight? Desperate times over here.”

Austin catches his breath on the other end of the line. “Dude, I wish I could, but someone’s already booked it for the night.”

A confused look falls across James’ face. “Booked…your car?”

“Yeah, I started sharing my Camry on Getaround,” Austin reveals. “I’m not using it most of the time anyway, and the extra cash helps cover my monthly payment.”

Defeated, James thanks Austin for answering and laments the demise of his blossoming relationship with Emma.

“James, relax,” Austin snaps. “You can book a car by the hour, right now on Getaround.”

There’s probably a line there, too, James thought to himself. “I’ll give it a shot. Is their building downtown?”

“Oh gosh no,” Austin replied. “All you have to do is download the Getaround app, find a car near you to reserve, then walk right up to it and unlock the door with your phone.”

Technology isn’t James’ strong suit. “Let me put you on speaker,” he says. The app installs before he finds the speaker button. “It says there’s a car available a block away from me? Is that right?”

“It’s so slick, James,” Austin explains. “And unlike that stodgy rental place, you can book by the hour—you only pay for the time you need the car. I’d book that one quick!”

“This seems too easy," James says. “Will I have to wait for the car’s owner to give me the keys?”

“Not at all,” Austin replies. “That’s the best part about Getaround—you can book and unlock the car using only your phone. The keys are inside!”

James can’t believe his eyes. The map on his phone shows a bright purple dot just a short walk away. He might be picking up Emma by the time this line moves an inch.

Tap tap tap tap tap. James deletes the text draft and bounds through the exit door, a lonely brass bell clanging behind him.

Ding. An excited text from Emma. “Looking forward to it, too,” James replies. “See you soon!”

“Okay, I’m by the car now,” James says into his phone. Back in the app, he taps the button to unlock. He hears the door unlock, and within moments, James is in the front seat. “I think I’ve got it figured out.”

“You’re in?” Austin asks, surprised.

“I’m in the car,” James says, also surprised. “That was seamless.”

“Awesome! And you have the keys?”

“Yep, booking info in the app told me where to find them,” James says. “Thanks Austin, I owe you one.”

“No problem,” Austin replies. “Just remember who helped you get to the all-important second date when you two are planning the wedding party.”

A smile widens across James’ face. “You got it.”

Avoid your own date night emergency by booking ahead or on-demand with Getaround!