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Car rental company won't let 80-year-old Coquitlam man rent a car

Last-minute weekend getaway marred by rental car age limit restriction.
Coquitlam Rick Pearson had to change his long weekend plans after a rental car company refused to rent a vehicle to him because he is 80 years old.

A quick long weekend trip to Victoria is not going as planned for a Coquitlam man.

Rick Pearson was looking forward to a Helijet excursion to B.C.’s capital city and a drive to some of the area’s attractions.

Problem is, the car rental company he was dealing with won’t let him rent a vehicle.

The reason?

His age.

Pearson, a fit 80-year-old senior who works out at his condo building, cycles on his e-bike and swims regularly, was shocked to learn that National Car and Truck Rental has age restrictions.

The national rental car agency doesn’t rent out its vehicles to people over the age of 79 — something that came as a surprise to Pearson when he called to rent a vehicle to get from the Helijet port to the city.

“I said, 'You’re kidding. I have a valid driver’s license and an exemplary record,’” Pearson told the Tri-City News.

“I feel upset because, you know, all of sudden I know I am 80. Is this when doors start shutting on me?”

Pearson said he is a safe driver and shouldn't be denied because of his age.

In fact, he’s driven for most of his life and drove for a living as a Honda industrial accounts manager.

According to its website, National Car and Truck Rental has age restrictions. “All drivers must be over the age of 21 years and under the age of 79 years,” the website states.

Pearson said he didn’t know that when he called and only learned of it when he spoke to a “polite” company representative.

The Tri-City News confirmed the information and was told it’s a company policy; however, Pearson said he thinks it’s unfair and thinks the policy could even be violating his human rights.

That’s why he decided to raise it in the media.

”I’m incensed about the fact that my age restricted me from renting a vehicle,” Pearson said.

With the Victoria Day long weekend fast approaching, Pearson said he isn’t going to bother to find another rental car, although Budget told him he was eligible despite his age.

Instead he’ll take the Helijet courtesy car and just walk around downtown Victoria for the day-long jaunt.

Still he’s perplexed about National’s rental car rule.

“I’ve still got a valid driver's license. I’ve got a vehicle,” Pearson said.