Budget Car Rental: "It's Because You're Black and A Lesbian"
Updated: Jan 29
Dear Budget Car Rental -
You’ve pissed me off! I married my wife on September 2nd 2018 on the sands of Fort Walton Beach, FL and our wedding was the most beautiful thing I could ever imagine. We got the opportunity to drive away in one of Budget’s fancy silver Mustang convertibles and that was an experience that will never be replaced. However, before “congratulations” “thank yous” and “your welcomes” are in order a few issues need to be addressed to include homophobia and racism. I would expect more from the employees of a company that has been in business for some 50 years but my assumption were proven incorrect, and on my wedding day nonetheless.
When two female friends and I arrived to the Budget counter, we were pleasantly greeted by the staff but a smile does not always equal friendliness. The lady who assisted us was rude with a grin. While being serviced, one of the women who had arrived with me brought the other young lady and myself a cup of refreshing water as we had been running around all morning preparing for the ceremony later in the day. Instead of focusing and completing the business started with me, the employee decided it was appropriate to state:
“Oh she can be your little helper today. She’s a good waitress. She’s great at bringing you water.”
The young lady she spoke around took instant offense as it felt as if it was a play on her Mexican decent. But the foolery had only begun.
Quickly, we realized that I would not be able to drive away in the beautiful convertible without a credit card on file, something I had left in my room to avoid carrying my entire wallet. The second friend decided to step up and attempt to assist. She handed over her credit card and driver’s licenses. The same woman looked over and decided to rename her:
“LaKeshia? I need you for a second.”
The young lady she was referring to, Lanae, was quite confused as her name is NO WHERE CLOSE, but perhaps it was easy for her to assume it was something else because she is African American, right? When the renamed friend politely corrected her, she was not met with an apology but with a “I don’t know where I got that from” which only angered us further.
When we found that my friend’s card had not yet been activated we decided to go back and get my card to just make the process and paperwork simple. Upon our return, we began the final stages of driving off in our rental. While we waited the same individual behind the rental counter decided to make small talk.
“Now that you are getting the car, you and your husband can both drive”
All three of us ignored her as I stated before when talking about getting married that it was a woman I was marrying but she just wouldn’t stop!
“He can drive.” “Both he and you will have fun.” “He.” “He!” “HE!”
I politely corrected the woman with “I’m marrying a her.”
But OH NO! The response was epic: “Oh yeah. That’s right. We are in the 21st century.”
Now while I don’t expect the world to have rainbows shooting out of their mouths, that surely was not a reply I expected in a professional environment.
To finish our interaction, she sent us off by reminding us that I had a helper by saying:
“Remember, don’t forget to use her. She was great at being your waitress!”
I have never, in my entire life, felt so belittled and embarrassed! What is worst, two people who were there to support my wife and I and our union felt unwelcome and belittled. They didn’t have to be there but they were and here is this random lady making them feel out of place. I would expect a great deal more from Budget. If all of those who work for this company behave in this way, I truly am surprised the doors are still open for business. But you do not need to worry on if I will or will not be back to use your services. I won’t and I’m taking everyone I know with me!