posted on February 9th, 2015

A guest post by Turo member Liuqing Chen

Liuqing Chen wanted to pop the question to his girlfriend. Three MINI Coopers rented on Turo, a TIME cover story, and an exciting proposal later, he’s a married man.  

Here’s the story from Liuqing:

A romantic idea

On December 15, I came up with the idea of collecting MINI Coopers of different colors to propose to my wife (we got married on Jan 1), since she’s a superfan of MINI Coopers and because it would be cool visually to group these cars together at Griffith Observatory, which is one of her favorite places.

Unfortunately, there were a few problems with this plan: How do I find so many MINI Coopers in a short period of time? How do I have her show up at the Griffith Observatory without letting her know that I am going to propose? Her sister Min Z. helped me out with the second problem. She simply told her that there would be a show there on that day, and, of course, she did not tell her that it would be a “show” for her.

But without MINI Coopers, the plan wouldn’t work! So I searched online for “MINI Cooper rentals”. Here were my choices:

  1. Big rental companies, like Budget. I found one big agency that had a convertible red MINI Cooper for rent. I got really excited and thought that it would be an easy way to get my cars. I started filling out the forms, but was then asked to choose a vehicle category. This is not what I wanted! I just wanted my little MINI Cooper. So I called to them to explain my great plan and secure a MINI, but they told me they couldn’t guarantee the type of car and that I could only pick from the available cars when I arrived. Disappointed, I called some other big rental companies. They said the same thing.
  2. Smaller rental companies. Yes, there were a lot of smaller rental options, but there were four contingencies: it had to be in LA, it must have MINIs for rent, the car had to be available, and it needed to be a special color, like yellow or blue. I made countless calls. Some of them couldn’t provide the specific car type, some didn’t have the car available in LA, some said their business wasn’t set up to accommodate this sort of request. I did, however, successfully rent a red MINI from a luxury rental car agency — for $180.
  3. Contact MINI Cooper directly. I didn’t even try it. Although it could have been a good advertisement for them, they would have probably refused since they don’t conventionally rent cars.
  4. Turo. Matthew D.’s black convertible MINI Cooper actually showed up in the Google search results, and I was able to rent it for only $55. He was very nice and helpful. I sent a message explaining my plan, and within 20 minutes, he had approved my request and congratulated me.


The matchmaker marketplace

Then I tried searching for other MINIs on Turo — and got a long list of MINI Coopers in a variety  of colors and available exactly when I needed them, which really saved me a lot of time. I didn’t need to make any calls in order to rent the car, and they did a great job on security and safety.

While I was only able to rent one car, I enlisted the help of my friends to rent some more. My friend Henry rented a yellow MINI Cooper from Joel S. for $50, and another friend, Boyu, rented a blue MINI Cooper from Kenny S. for $45. The car owners were really willing to help when my friends mentioned my plan. Joel even mentioned me in the cover story of TIME magazine! I feel like I am becoming famous!

With the help of Turo and the local MINI Cooper owners, I rented so many cars and got them to the Observatory on time. All together, it cost me less than $180 (including insurance) to execute my plan perfectly.
The proposal went really well, and most importantly, she said yes.

Thank you, Turo!

Liuqing Chen

Megan is the copywriter and content tsarina at Turo. She lives to wander near and far, never met a beach (or dog) she didn’t like, and loves to talk postmodern lit and theory to anyone who’ll listen.