Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Connections with the Family

I used to work for a car rental company a few years back that prided itself in picking up their customers from home, or work, or the car repair facility. While still early in my career there I was sent out to pick up a regular customer from their house. When I arrived at the large new home two men came out to the vehicle. One of them was a burly looking guy dressed in a collared shirt and slacks. The other was in a track suit that was open a little too far, sneakers, and had several gold chains around his neck. He had dark slicked back hair. It was almost comical.

The big guy sat up front with me as we headed back to the office, while the other sat in back. As I normally do in situations like this I got some conversation going.

Me - So do you have any big plans for the day?

The man in the track suit - We're going to the horse track.

Me - Oh, cool. Have you been to the new track very much? I've been wanting to go, but hadn't made it out yet.

The man in track suit - We go on a regular basis. That's what I do for a living.

Me - Oh yeah? You must do pretty well. What's the most you've ever won on a race?

The man in the track suit - A hundred thousand.

Me - Damn. You must have a good system then. I've been reading a book about handicapping and Beyer numbers. Do you have any tips for what to look for?

The man in the track suit - Not really. I just know people. Jockeys, trainers, their families.

Me - Oh.

He went on to tell me that they tell him things and that's how he places his bets. He didn't say why they tell him things or how he knew them. We went on to the office and he rented the car from the manager in the most bizarre fashion that I had seen. He got a luxury car and didn't leave a credit card as a deposit (which is required), didn't show a drivers license (which is required), and didn't sign his own paperwork (which is required). What he did do is leave a thousand dollar cash deposit which he pulled from a wad that must have been twenty grand from his front pocket. He also had the burly guy give me business card in case I ever wanted to contact him or place a wager and couldn't get to the track. They also did football games, basketball, etc. The card had a phone number on it, but the name on it was not his. It looked more like a nickname.

The manager who had made sure the paperwork was ready when I got to the office said not to worry about the rental being out of the norm. He was a repeat customer and always paid his bills. He also said that I would be insane if I kept that card and ever placed a bet with the man in the track suit.

The manager came back to me a few minutes later to make sure that I threw the card away and reiterate that it would be a very bad idea to ever call that guy.