We were quite excited about our free upgrade to this nice car with all its bells and whistles, but were a bit overwhelmed when we stepped in the car and couldn't understand what half of the buttons did. Oh well, off we went to our first stop at Interlaken. After a walk around town, we were at the gate to leave the parking lot when we realized we had forgotten to pay for the parking, so we quickly ran to the machine while a line of cars formed behind us to get out. After a few minutes struggling with the machine, we were paid and ready to go. But, our car wasn't. The electronic gear shift would not go into drive! No matter how many times we pushed it into drive, it would just chime but stay in park. Take 1, take 2, take 15. Nothing. The line grew longer and the awkwardness grew stronger. The man in the car behind us got out, opened our car door and yelled something at us in German. Try, try again, push every button we can find. Nothing. And then, it got worse. All of a sudden, an extremely loud alarm started going off. We weren't sure if it was the gate alarm or the car or what was going on, but it was loud, and very annoying. FINALLY, we somehow got the car in drive and off we went...but the alarm went with us! It was indeed the car making the racket and it would not stop even though we were off and driving. We could barely hear each other talk it was so loud. What had we done to the car?!
So we pulled over and tried pushing buttons...ALL of the buttons. Nothing. We turned the car off, and on, and off again, moved it, pushed buttons on the remotes and any button we could see, but nothing. Oddly, the alarm seemed to be coming from the interior and not coming from the external part of the car. So we got out and flagged some random Swiss people to help us read the German car manual. We then flagged anyone we saw with a BMW to see if they had any insight. We tried calling some Swiss BMW dealers who gave us a few ideas, but nothing seemed to work. Person after person came to see if they could lend a hand but none could get this extremely loud and annoying alarm to stop. A small crowd even started to gather our their windows to see what the commotion was. Finally, we gave up and called Hertz to send some help. They agreed to send someone, but he was over an hour away! So we waited, put in earplugs, and continued to try everything we could think of.
Excited to finally have a solution and a temporary end to this ordeal, we unpacked our bags from the car to prepare for our taxi. As soon as I put my backpack down on the ground, I saw a look on Caitlin's face that I had rarely seen and she shouted my name. My heart skipped, what had happened?! Did I break something valuable?! Did I spill something all over her clothes? Nope, much worse. “Your Personal Alarm!!!!” She shouted. My face turned green as I realized what she was saying. That loud, annoying, non-stop car alarm that had delayed us for hours, stumped numerous people and cause us to have rage blackouts at Hertz had actually been caused by MY own travel safety alarm that I had in my bag. It had nothing to do with the car!! I had accidentally pulled the alarm in the struggle to get the car out of the parking lot. I had serious egg on my face. I couldn't believe the ordeal I had just put everyone through. There were apologies from me to my family, and many apologies from us to Hertz and the mechanic. Fortunately, the grumpy mechanic seemed to have a sense of humor about it and smiled for the first time of the day. After a long, arduous ordeal, we were finally, sheepishly on our way...in silence.