Brett and I have started traveling a little more in Australia, exploring areas off the regularly traveled road and at times we hire a car to get us from A to B and then to C or D.
On a recent trip to Ballarat, about an hour and a half north-ish of Melbourne, we experienced something unlike anything we had before. No, it had nothing to do with spiders or snakes.
We normally take the red-eye to Melbourne and then catch a train from Southern Cross Station to some of the smaller cities to the north. It’s a welcome return to train travel that we miss so much.
After a tightly scheduled hop on the train to Ballarat, we had to pick up a rental car since we would be driving to some park areas and off to Bendigo, another smaller city in Victoria as few days later.
With us were our rolling bags and backpacks, both feeling a little disheveled from the night’s plane trip and the busy train up from Melbourne. When we got off at our stop in Ballarat, we had to walk about 10 minutes to the rental car pickup location. It was midday by this point and we were a bit hot and bothered, and just wanted to get to our little AirBnb.
So we arrive at the supposed location of the car rental and look around a bit confused, thinking it doesn’t look like a rental lot but rather an autobody shop. As we stood in the lot, re-checking the Google Map location, a gent came out and asked us if we were looking for the car rental shop. Of course, we responded, that indeed we were! So the guy proceeds to tell us that the car rental office had moved down the road. But it was too far to walk with bags and in the heat. Obviously we were a bit miffed because clearly the location hadn’t been updated in the maps. Dude said he had people coming by often looking for the care rental office.
As we were deciding what to do, dude says, “Just take that car right there”.
Are you are offering your scar to two people you do not know, to drive (albeit a little clunker of a shop car) a couple of kilometers up the road without you?
Hmmm, ok. Yeah, no problem. Let’s do that, we say. How bizarre! But it was exactly what we needed to hear.
So we drove that car up the road to the car hiring agency, bags and all, as if we didn’t need to bring this car back, and of course – we are driving on the opposite side of the road from what we are used to. And this was my first time having a go at it! But we made it back to the shop with the shop car without a hitch.
After we thanked the shop dude again and went on our way, we took note that he saved us a few choice words and negative feelings (and some blaming each other for the glitch). Trusting a stranger with someone you rely on in order to help another person out, knowing that they will return what they borrowed or needed. Something society needs today. A kind gesture can certainly change the outcome of someone else’s day.
In the end, of course we enjoyed our Aussie adventure and have a nice little story to tell about the nice guy from the autobody shop.