"We're doing about 100 miles up to the capital, you know, over a COVID test." You would not believe what happened to a Bay Area man after his rent-a-car place forgot to schedule his COVID-19 test right before he had to hop on a plane home.
MICHAEL FINNEY: Listen to this one. When you travel abroad, you might want to figure out where you're going to get your COVID test so you can board the plane home. It may be tricky depending on what country you're in. Well, our viewer booked his test with the most unusual provider, his rental car company. So was that a good idea?
OSCAR AGUIRRE: It sounded easy enough and it sounded great enough.
MICHAEL FINNEY: Oscar Aguirre of San Jose planned every detail of his trip to see family in El Salvador.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: I still have aunts and uncles that live down there, and a lot of cousins.
MICHAEL FINNEY: Oscar knew he'd have to take a COVID test within three days of his flight back home, so he took up an offer to get tested by an unusual provider. Alamo rent-a-car.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: I booked my rental vehicle through Alamo, and they offered me the service of doing a COVID test upon returning the vehicle.
MICHAEL FINNEY: It certainly was convenient, and right there at the airport. What could go wrong?
OSCAR AGUIRRE: Every everything that could go wrong was going wrong.
MICHAEL FINNEY: Here's what happened. After a week with family, Oscar's aunts, uncles, and cousins drove him 2 and 1/2 hours to the airport. Oscar returned the rental car to Alamo, and asked for that COVID test.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: He was like, oh my God, I forgot to schedule it, and the guy's not here, and I'm like.
MICHAEL FINNEY: There was no technician, no rapid test, and Oscar's flight was leaving in 3 hours.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: So I'm looking at my watch, like OK, finally she told me that they would have to drive me back to San Salvador.
MICHAEL FINNEY: So Oscar and an Alamo driver jumped in a car and raced 60 miles to a test site in the capital.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: He said buckle up. Now I'm figuring, like, my life is at risk because we're doing about 100 miles per hour. He's swerving through the vehicle, like cutting people off. People are getting off of work. It's chaos, and I guess it doesn't matter at this point if you get them there safe or not safe. It felt like I was in a movie there.
MICHAEL FINNEY: Oscar got a negative result, then raced back to the airport, where his family was still waiting to say goodbye.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: I said my quick goodbyes. We didn't even get a chance to cry. Usually we cry, right?
MICHAEL FINNEY: He ran to the gate, COVID test in hand, and then--
OSCAR AGUIRRE: The gates have been closed, and it's too late.
MICHAEL FINNEY: He watched as a plane took off without him. Oscar had to wait two days for the next flight home. He says Alamo didn't help with a new booking or hotel.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: I'm in limbo. I don't have no Wi-Fi, no internet, nothing.
MICHAEL FINNEY: His family ended up driving all the way back to get him. 7 On Your Side asked Alamo what went wrong. The company apologized and refunded Oscar $130 for that COVID test. It also paid his extra airfare. Oscar missed two days of work, but did get more time to say goodbye.
OSCAR AGUIRRE: Well, that's when we got to cry like kind of say our goodbyes. It's always heartbreaking.
MICHAEL FINNEY: Under new federal rules you must have a negative COVID result in order to board a plane back to the United States. And that's even if you're fully vaccinated. So I've posted a link. You can review the rules and be sure you don't end up stranded too.