Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where art thou, Oliver? A Craigslist deal comes back to bite

When my family travels, friends often give us a ride to the airport (we reciprocate, of course). But as a recent trip neared, our friends were otherwise occupied on the day of departure, so we had to look for other options.

I considered Supershuttle, the van service, but the $53 cost to take three of us  from Long Beach to Orange County's John Wayne Airport seemed high. Another negative: The van might make one or two other stops along the way.

Looking around online, I came upon an ad on Craiglist from someone offering rides to and from the airport in his Prius, and offering prices in the $20 to $25 range.

Yes, this was an offer that screamed "Too good to be true," but I called the number and reached Oliver Quenneville, the author of the ad. He sounded sincere and eager, and said he could take us to the airport with no stops for $20. I decided to take the chance.

I still thought there was a fair chance he wouldn't show up, but on the morning of our departure, Oliver was at our curb right on time. The drive to the airport was flawless. Take that, "Too good to be true" gremlins! I was so pleased I gave him an extra $5.

But the gremlins soon got their revenge. A week later, Oliver agreed to give us a ride home from the airport. But when the time came, he didn't show. I texted him five times and left three voice mail messages, but he never responded.

We took a van service home, sadder but wiser.

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