Tulsa, Okla., January 30, 2006 – Honeymoons are supposed to be a time of romance and moonlit walks, but not for Jeff and Rhonda West of Bessemer City, NC. Their honeymoon was downright criminal - stolen right out from under them, in fact - which is why they were recently awarded the Grand Prize in Thrifty Car Rental's Honeymoon Disasters® Contest.
For surviving their postnuptial trauma, the couple was awarded a second honeymoon courtesy of Thrifty Car Rental, the contest sponsor. As winners, the Wests will receive roundtrip airfare to a destination of their choice in the continental U.S., hotel accommodations for three nights, a four-day car rental from Thrifty Car Rental and $500 spending money. (See www.honeymoondisasters.com for details and contest rules).
Into every life a little rain must fall, and that's exactly how the West's honeymoon started - with a torrential downpour. Headed for the hotel in Jeff's mint-condition 1968 Camaro RS, they lost a hubcap. After chasing it down, they resumed their journey again, until they heard a very loud THUD. Jeff, still dressed in his tuxedo, got out of the car to survey the blown-out back tire when the car, along with his new bride, started rolling down the hill - he had forgotten to put the car in “park.”
“I could hear my beautiful bride screaming at the top of her lungs,” said Jeff. “'Help! Help!' Then I started chasing the car until it came to rest in a bunch of bushes. By now my wife is in tears, wondering what's going to happen next.”
After changing the tire and double-checking the hubcap, the newlyweds were off again. Not that things improved for them.
“We finally get to our hotel, only to find out that it had caught on fire the day before and was completely shut down,” said Jeff. “This almost pushed my new wife completely over the edge - sitting in a parking lot at 3 o'clock in the morning on our wedding night without a place to bed down for the night.”
So the couple started driving from hotel to hotel, trying to find one with rooms available. “While we are stopped at this one little hotel/motel outside the city limits, my bride comes in with me,” said Jeff. “When we find out they don't have any place to stay and head back out to our car . . . IT'S GONE! Someone had just stolen our car!”
Taking pity upon them, the hotel finally found room at the inn, and the newlyweds slept until 2 p.m. “Then we got up, got dressed and went back home,” said Jeff. “No honeymoon for us!”
But Thrifty Car Rental is remedying the West's situation with a second honeymoon. Where does the couple plan to go? “Rhonda would like to go to Vegas, if the trip is real,” said Jeff jokingly, as his wife of sixteen years still doesn't believe they have really won the contest. “Vegas would be the perfect place to renew our vows, which I'll keep secret until we arrive there. So 'Viva Las Vegas' it will be!”
* * * * *
Thousands of entries were received in Thrifty Car Rental's 11th Honeymoon Disasters Contest and judged by a panel of Thrifty employees.
More disastrous stories from this year's contest:
Carlos and Janette Arroyave, Miami Lakes, FL: Carlos's sister and family from Columbia shacked up with the honeymooners in the couple's efficiency apartment Not only was Janette serenaded by her brother-in-law's incessant snoring, but the two kids decided to sleep with the newlyweds on the air mattress. “Come on, I wanted to spend my wedding night with my husband alone,” said Janette. “Romantic? Yeah, right!”
John Bowersox and Laura Christopher, Baltimore, MD : While bathing in a tacky heart-shaped tub, John had trouble following the instructions on the bottle of bubble bath. “Pour one capful” became “pour one cupful” and the couple was overcome by bubbles.
Tony and Daisy Delgado, Oswego, IL: If having the flu on your wedding night wasn't bad enough, Daisy and her husband stayed at a hotel hosting a convention of 5,000 Beatles fans. To add insult to injury, the couple in the adjoining suite sang Strawberry Fields all night long, killing any chance of romance.
Dave and Kelli Faherty, Brighton, MA : The couple cut their honeymoon short to accommodate Dave's new job, which had also required him to move from New York to Boston. On Day 2 of their abbreviated honeymoon in Newport, RI (and not St. Martin, as originally planned), Dave got a message from the new boss: “Your job offer has been revoked.” The Fahertys had changed their honeymoon plans - and moved to Boston - for nothing.
Nestor and Sonna Lynn Fernandez, Nampa, ID : When Nestor's mother visited the U.S. for the wedding, the couple didn't have a place for her to stay during the honeymoon, so they took her along. “When we arrived at the bed-and-breakfast, my husband was upset that I had arranged for separate rooms,” said Sonna Lynn. “The farther apart, the better, I thought.” But Nestor had Mama Betty moved to the adjoining room, and in the heat of passion, they were interrupted by a dainty knock on the wall. “After that, it was all downhill for us. Nestor wanted to know why I wasn't in the mood, and every time I saw Mama Betty, I felt like a caught teenager.”
Nathan and Michelle Johnson, Logan, UT : Weeks before the wedding, Nathan was in a motorcycle accident that left him in a drug-induced coma for over a month. Later, when trying to reschedule, the couple was in a car wreck that left them black and blue. The third time is usually a charm, but the Johnsons were treated to a visit by the fire department when the reception hall caught fire. “The firemen did join in some wedding pictures with us,” said Michelle. Due to Nathan being out of work, the couple honeymooned at a local Best Western.
Kurt and Joanne Kreher, Clarence, NY : In Bermuda, the taxi driver had trouble finding their hotel. When dropped off at a day care filled with screaming babies, the couple questioned if they were really in the right place. Their second-floor room came complete with a plastic-covered mattress that crackled loudly every time they made the slightest move. Romance was not in the air - but stinky diapers were.
James and Mary Ann Lakeman, Buffalo, NY : Thirty-three years ago, while visiting Toronto, the newlyweds decided to take in the musical Hair. The wine Mary Ann had at dinner made her a little tipsy, so when she stepped into the aisle to take a potty break, she got caught in a rush of performers running down the aisles. After tripping a performer and going down for the count, Mary Ann lay on the ground - in the spotlight - with her skirt hiked up over her face. To this day, James says, “I can dress her up, but I can't take her out!”
John and Ruth Madewell, Lemoore, CA : John's dad is a pastor, and Ruth always tried to be on her best behavior around him. When the in-laws said they would hook up with the newlyweds at the mountain chalet about three days into the honeymoon, Ruth wasn't counting on them showing up early. The holy family must have said more than a few “Hail Mary's” when they walked in on Ruth stirring au gratin potatoes in a sexy negligee. Say a prayer for Ruth's relationship with the in-laws.
Rick and Libby Parker, Las Vegas, NV : Honeymooning in Belize, Libby burned her hands on the nylon line while trying to reel in a hungry barracuda. En route to a jungle resort, the couple had to cross a river in a tin boat. That's when Libby got bitten by the captain's little monkey sidekick. Accommodations were thatched-roof cabins without running water and electricity. “At night, we heard snakes slithering through the roof,” said Libby. Add giant hairy spiders on the toilet seat and rabies shots for the monkey bite when they got home, and these newlyweds got more than they'd bargained for.
Brian and Chris Rogalski, Hopatcong, NJ : In the heat of the moment, the couple was interrupted by a knock at the door at their Hawaiian hotel. Ignoring the summons, the newlyweds resumed their activities as the bellboy entered with fruit basket in hand. “Now we don't ignore a knock at the door,” said Chris.
Laurel Yost, Scarville, IA : In the dark, Laurel and her husband missed the driveway and drove across the lawn of the motel on their wedding night. It wasn't until morning when they noticed the tire marks leading from the highway, across the grass, to their parked car with the “Just Married” sign. “It must have looked like we were terribly anxious,” said Laurel.
About Thrifty Car Rental
Thrifty Car Rental is a subsidiary of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc., a Fortune 1000 Company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together with its corporately-owned locations and those of its franchise owners, the Thrifty Car Rental brand serves value-conscious travelers from more than 1,028 locations in 68 countries. For additional information, visit www.dtag.com or www.thrifty.com .