Oscar Aguirre from San Jose planned every detail of his trip to see his family in El Salvador. “It sounded pretty easy, it sounded good enough… sometimes when it’s too good to be true it might not be.” “I still, like, aunts and uncles living there and a lot of cousins, then,” he explained of his trip.
Aguirre knew he would have to take a COVID-19 test within three days of his flight home. He therefore accepted an offer to be tested by an unusual supplier: Alamo Rent-A-Car.
“I reserved my rental vehicle with Alamo and they offered me the service of doing a COVID test which, in my opinion, would be convenient. When the vehicle returned, they gave me the COVID test on site and I would be on my way, ”Aguirre explained.
It was certainly convenient – and right there at the airport. What could possibly go wrong?
“Anything that could go wrong was going to go wrong,” he said.
Here is what happened. After a week with his family, Aguirre’s aunts, uncles and cousins drove him two and a half hours to the airport.
Aguirre returned the rental car to Alamo – and requested this COVID-19 test.
“And she’s like, ‘Oh my god, I forgot to program it and the guy isn’t here,’” he recalls.
There was no technician, no quick test. And Aguirre’s flight was leaving three hours–
“She told me they should take me back to San Salvador,” Aguirre said.
So Aguirre and an Alamo driver jumped into a car and drove 60 miles to a test site in the capital. He said, “Buckle up”… he just swerves through vehicles, like interrupting people and doing what he can. Obviously his job is to get me there. It’s chaos. And over there they don’t have as much traffic regulations… people cut you off, or put on a red light or yes, ”he said. “I felt like I was in a movie. “
“Now I understand, okay my life is in danger, because we’re doing about 100 miles to the capital, you know, on a COVID test,” he continued.
Aguirre tested negative, then returned to the airport, where his family was still waiting to say goodbye.
“And I was like, ‘Okay, I have to go.’ And they said to each other: “Have a good trip.” And we haven’t even had the chance to cry like we usually cry, have we, ”Aguirre said.
He ran to the door, COVID-19 test in hand. So what…
“The doors have been closed and it is too late,” said Aguirre.
He watched the plane take off without him.
“I have no wifi, no internet. I’m basically stuck, ”he said.
Aguirre had to wait two days for the next flight home. He says Alamo didn’t help with a new reservation or a new hotel.
His family ended up coming all the way home to pick him up!
7 On Your Side asked Alamo what’s wrong. The company apologized and reimbursed Aguirre $ 130 for this COVID-19 test. He also paid for his additional plane ticket and offered a future free rental.
Aguirre missed two days of work but had more time with his family.
“This is when we have to cry and kind of like to say our goodbyes,” he said.
According to the new federal rules, you must have a negative COVID-19 result to board a plane to the United States – even if you are fully vaccinated.
View federal rules for international air travel here.
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