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 TULSA, Okla., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to traveling, Thrifty Car Rental knows, the fun never ends.
 Take the case of Ralf Korpman of Bridgewater, N.J. He got a real surprise on a 1986 trip to Leningrad with his family. It seems the Russian KGB thought Korpman was suspect and decided to undergo an extensive search of his belongings, after which he was subjected to a "bodily inspection."
 While Korpman won't want to relive that trip anytime soon, his experience did get him something -- the winner's place in Thrifty Car Rental's first annual "I'm Tee'd Off Contest" in which customers shared their worst travel nightmares. As winner, Korpman will receive a week's free car rental from Thrifty, nightmare-free, of course. In addition, he will receive an imitation can of furniture polish with a secret compartment for valuables.
 Thrifty held the contest in conjunction with one of a series of "enthusiasm" days it holds throughout the year to inject some good- spirited fun into the traveling process for both its customers and employees.
 "Anyone that travels knows that it's lots of fun, but sometimes, it can also test the limits of your sanity," said Thrifty President Don Himelfarb.
 Those Thrifty customers who entered the contest know that all too well. Their entries proved that when it comes to travel, fact can indeed be stranger than fiction. Names are disguised to protect the innocent (maybe we should say the "incensed"). A few samples:
 R.C. of Port St. Lucie, Fla.: While riding down an escalator at a French airport, he was attacked by four men who tried to steal his travel documents. R.C. punched out two of the assailants, and the other two got away. His only loss: skinned arms and knees. Thrifty provided him belatedly with bandaids and mercurochrome.
 S.H. of Fair Oaks, Calif.: S.H. experienced travel terrors with his new wife when Hurricane Iniki struck Kauai during their honeymoon. Stuck in their condo for the entire episode, they narrowly escaped tragedy when the bedroom they had just vacated was completely destroyed by flying debris. His consolation gift: safety glasses.
 A.C. of Bowie, Md.: When he picked up a rental car from one of those "other companies," it had a telltale odor from a previous owner's apparent uneasy stomach. Unfortunately, no one bothered to air out the car. Now he carries Lysol just in case, courtesy of Thrifty.
 R.V. of Cottonwood, Ariz.: R.V. was assigned a seat on row 37 of an airplane with only 36 rows. After he was reassigned, the flight was delayed by rain and remained parked on the runway for five hours. "There's more," R.V. warned, "but it was too horrible."
 H.L. of Tarzana, Calif.: His luggage was lost before he ever stepped on an airplane. He purchased his airline ticked, boarded a shuttle bus and was assisted by a "helpful" porter who placed his bags on the wrong bus. By the time he located his bags, H.L. had already missed his flight. Now he has plastic handcuffs to insure that he and his suitcase are never parted again.
 D.G. of Royal Oak, Wis.: D.G. flew between two gentlemen "who hadn't bathed in two days." D.G. received a respirator mask.
 D.C. of Winston-Salem, N.C.: D.C. called a car rental company via an 800 number and requested a rental car for Christmas Day in Daytona Beach, Fla. When he arrived, there was no Daytona location. Since it was Christmas Day, D.C. had to schlep around town in a cab. He received a Thrifty worldwide directory.
 Each contestant also received a copy of Erma Bombeck's "When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home" and valuable coupons good for rental discounts or upgrades with Thrifty.
 -0- 9/9/93
 /CONTACT: Chris Payne of Thrifty, 918-669-2379/

CO: Thrifty Car Rental ST: Oklahoma IN: SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 9, 1993

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