Top Stories

Car Rental Employees Share Their Returned Vehicle Horror Stories

It is unfortunately part of a car rental company's job to inspect a car once it has been brought back so that they may keep their vehicles running smoothly.

And unfortunately, some people are just...gross. Or worse.

Rental cars get turned in in such bad shape that people are speechless. But now they are coming forward to share their horror stories.

u/DavidxPxD asked:

Car rental staff, what is your returned vehicle horror story?

Here were some of those stories.

But Why The Seafood Though


I worked at a car dealer that uses the same guidelines as a dealers like CarMax. 1 owner low mileage cars from rental companies and off lease cars. When cars used to come in for service, we would loan them a similar car to theirs off the lot and let them take it with a dealer tag until their vehicle was finished.

We gave one lady a Jeep Grand Cherokee while her non grand Jeep Cherokee was in for service. This is a slightly bigger vehicle than she was used to driving. Now remember, these cars have to go back onto the lot once they're done being driven, so every customer was warned that every vehicle should be treated with care, this lady didn't get that memo.

After a week of driving a free loaner she returned the Jeep complaining of the gas mileage and that she had the hardest time parking it. We just took it as she really didn't like driving it. Boy were we wrong. The whole passenger side had giant scratches going down the side, it looked like she had gone through the woods. Some of it was yellow so it looked like she clipped one of those yellow pillars in parking lots.

The interior was another horror story. The entire trunk area looked like a bed of a landscaper's truck. Dirt and mud everywhere. Detailing took days to clean it out. Best part? The left over seafood containers left under the front seats. The car sat for a week after being returned bc of the exterior damage, giving time for the seafood to stew in the heat. If anyone doesn't know what cooked seafood starts to smell like un-refrigerated environments for long period of time, it smells exactly what it is; a rotting carcass. The detailers weren't really able to get that smell out of it after the various amount of harsh chemicals. That Jeep ended up going to auction rather than back on the lot rather than trying to fix and sell it for a profit.

They stopped loaning out lot vehicles after that one. They "flagged" her for future service and with the rental company we then outsourced our loaner cars to.


Not Clear If I'm Gonna Die Today

I worked at a rental agency shortly after college, and while this isn't gross, this particular story stuck to me. So, very occasionally people will rent cars and then just like...not give them back. You can call them over and over and leave messages, and you can try to hit their card on file as the costs mount but as you can imagine, this type of person ends up having their card decline fairly quickly. Rental charges are mounting and the person is MIA, so the main concern of the branch becomes getting the car back.

So here's one of the more adventurous parts of the job: eventually, you have to "repo" the car. One such time, we basically staked out this guy's house until he left (with someone else), leaving the rental car in the driveway. The branch manager quickly jumped in the car and we drove back to the branch.

Inside the car were dozens of boxes of designer sneakers, hundreds of bootleg DVDs, and dozens of (fake) designer purses. There were also drugs in the car. We had to call the police to report all of the items in the car (really, we called about the drugs, but when the officer came the manager showed them everything)

Around a month later...the renter came to the branch to ask if we'd taken the car and if his personal items could be returned. The manager took him into the office and nothing ended up happening (he just informed him they turned the items in to the police because it was policy, not mentioning the drugs or obviously-stolen and counterfeited items). While it all turned out ok, the rest of us in the branch were sh*tting bricks when the manager took him in the office. The dude who had driven him to the branch was sitting in there with us and we were all convinced we were about to get murdered.


Sometimes People Just Lose It

Not a car rental staff but hanging out with a friend who's about to leave on a long as road trip. We hear some racket outside and there's some random chick going all /r/publicfreakout on some dude car with a baseball bat. Busted off the mirrors, broke out all the windows, taillights and headlights, dents, the works.

Fast forward about three hours and I'm driving my friend to the rental place so she can pick up a rental for her road trip and guess which car is also in the lot?

Turns out, the guy who's car got all f*cked up had just rented it to break up with his girl because he knew it wasn't going to go well and didn't want her to f*ck up his car. He got all the insurance and she got a felony vandalism charge.


Casual Ant Colony

Oh man.. not a staff member, but this just happened to my wife and I.

So we went to Hawaii for our fifth anniversary. Never got to take a honeymoon, so this was kind of a bit of both.. We reserved a standard economy car from Fox and they said.. we upgraded you to this convertible.. I asked them for the type of car I reserved, as the convertible had minimal luggage space.. they kind of shrugged and went "But it's an upgrade" my wife was giving me the "Just f*cking get the keys" look, so I said great and signed for it.

We drive around for a little bit and hit the beach and see some ants in the car.. figured maybe we picked up or parked on some ants.. it's late so we head back to the room and sleep off the 8 hours of travel and layover.

The next morning, I see more ants.. then I turn on the air...

LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF ANTS come flooding out of the vents.. there was a nest in the car.. they lived there. I dropped my wife off at a coffee shop and returned the car immediately..

They ended up giving me another convertible, which I didn't want, but when I told them about the colony.. they said "I mean.. yeah.. that happens sometimes."


He Drove It Through An Action Movie

The strangest incident was a gray SUV that was returned with several bullet holes on the driver's side fender and door. The vehicle was driven in a slightly bad part of New York City when the incident occurred. I don't know what happened to the driver, but we totaled the rental.

I also came across a lot of weed, phones sunglasses and in one case, a Glock pistol.


It Gets Ricey In There

Old roommate worked for Uhaul in the late 90's. He had a few stories but my favorite. Guy rented a 16' truck and went to business Costco. Apparently guy owned a restaurant or two and loaded up on 5 gallon buckets of soy sauce and 50 pound bags of rice. Well he made it through the parking lot but when he turned onto the street his rear wheel went up on the sidewalk and when it came down the rear axle broke. He must have been going reasonably fast and forgot to secure any of his load. A lot of the buckets of soy sauce which were stacked four tall tipped over and flooded the back of the truck and street. The rice slowly expanded due to being covered in soy sauce and the fire department had to cut the back door open as it was wedged shut.



I worked for Enterprise back in 08-09 in Madison, WI. Constantly had people wanting to rent "maf*ckin Chargers," which we referred to as MFC's, to take down to Chicago for the weekend. They would come back smoked out with ash all over everything, and McDonald's bags everywhere. Just a complete mess.

We would rent cars with cash if we could get a $500 deposit on the vehicle, plus other documents showing they paid their bills and proof of residence. When people would return their car, we would give them a check for their deposit back because we didn't keep the cash in the office. One guy freaked out so hard because he wanted the cash right then and there. He was getting very aggressive and said he was going to go get his gun and shoot us all. We called the cops and the guy never returned.

Worked the airport location for a few months, and I had an absolute bitch of a branch manager. I would always have to work the night shift by myself, and we had to stay until the last flight came in, no matter when that was, so if it was delayed, we had to stick around. My manager would leave early all the time, and never make sure I was set with cars for the night. Just hoped that other cars would return and I'd be good. Constantly didn't have enough cars for people, and would have to walk them over to Avis and hope they could rent them a car. Nightmare.

This one isn't a horror story, but I use to rent cars to Craig Culver, The owner of Culver's, frequently when his car was being serviced. He always took the additional insurance which was great for me. He got in an accident in one of our cars one time by backing into one of those yellow cement posts in a parking lot. He felt so terrible about it, but he was covered since had the extra insurance. Really nice guy.

Also, just watch this video. It is a very realistic portrayal of daily conversations with customers.

Loved my coworkers, hated the job. I have plenty of other sh*tty stories about that place.


People Hide Their Vomit So Creatively

On a 2 week work trip some years ago my buddy and I are driving around southern California on the weekend. As the sun starts to really bake into the car we get this weird smell. At first we each though the other had bad BO but pretty soon we've got the windows down even though its 100F outside. I pull over and we search around. The car has rear seats that flip forward, under one of them is this pile of vomit. Its not huge so I think they had a kid in the car with one seat flipped forward and the kid barfed to the side...

We headed STRAIGHT back to the airport with the windows wide open. The checkin area was deserted with only one guy working, we jump out (the smell!) "You gotta give me a different car!" Guy leans in and sniffs "Yessir! Lets get you an upgrade!"

Left in a brand new (like 3 miles on it) Mustang Convertible...


Cars Are Places For Wild Things To Happen

I worked for a rental agency between 2010 and 2014.

One time I had a tweaked out customer back his rental into the river. We had it towed out and when it was being detailed they found so much trash including piles of empty bath salts packaging.

Another customer had Parkinson's and probably shouldn't have been driving to begin with. Within 10 seconds of pulling out of our lot he caused a three car accident. Yes he had the damage waiver, but he declined additional liability. Everyone was okay, but you could say they were shaken up.

Last story for now. I had a guy return a car laughing because he hit a raccoon in his Yaris. He declined the damage waiver and had a $1000 deductible. He proceeded to r/publicfreakout when I insisted I collect his deductible right then, which he did pay. The car ended up being totaled.

I have a lot more stories about rental cars involving drive bys, drugs, bank robberies, and even repossessing a rental car during a cook house bust.


Remember The Alamo

Customer renting from Alamo in Vegas. Kia Optimas were the hot new car of the day. I remember almost taking the only one in the mid-size category. Got in the car to drive away, and noticed the entire car smelled strongly of feet, like haven't-changed-your-socks-in-two-weeks feet. I really don't know how a car ends up smelling like that, but when we returned our Camry a week later, the fresh new dirty shoe Optima was still on the lot.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.