Essentially, this is what happened: On Fri evening 10/24/03 I contacted LIALS, in order to make arrangements for a Sunday morning pick up at a friends house in NY. The Yellow pages add I used to look them up stated Visa/Mastercard was accepted. I was quoted $42.00 for a one-way ride for myself, my wife and 2-year-old.
At 5:30AM on the morning of the 26th, the van arrived with one other passenger in it. An accountant from Woodbury Long Island. There were no other passengers for the duration of the trip. The driver (a tall skin head guy) was busy communicating with the shuttle company on what looked like a cell phone, and didn't really say anything.
We loaded the luggage, the last piece of which was my wife's laptop computer packed in a leather Nine West bag. There was no room anywhere else in the van, so I placed the bag on the seat in front of me near where the other passenger was sitting.
We then left for the airport.When we arrived at La Guardia, We began unloading the luggage onto the directly in front of the baggage check in.
When the luggage was almost all removed, I presented the driver with my Visa card. The driver told me that he could not accept Visa as the phone book add had stated, without 24 hour advanced notice. (There was no mention of this either over the phone or in the advertisement). Since I did not have that much cash on me, we began to debate.
About a minute into our discussion, the other passenger (the accountant) butt in and said that he did not want to miss his flight, and so offered to pay our fare. He gave me his business card with address phone number and EMAIL, and said to mail him a check when we got a chance. I gave the driver $20 of the $42.00 (which had somehow risen to $45.00) and a promise to the accountant for the $25.00 balance. The driver and accountant then ran to the van and drove off.
We immediately noticed that our laptop had not been unloaded, and so called the shuttle company from our cell phone. They called the driver en route to Kennedy airport, (within a minute or two of pulling away) who said that he did not have the bag. We knew that the bag had not been unloaded and so called back a minute later and asked to speak to the driver personally. We were finally put in touch with the driver about 20 minutes later, who said that the other passenger on the shuttle (the accountant) had taken the laptop. At that point we checked our remaining luggage and boarded the flight.
We got in touch with the accountant late the following day, and thanked him for lending us the money and asked
about the where abouts of the laptop. He confirmed that he had seen the laptop on the seat next to him, but knew it wasn't his, so he left it.
I spent all of Tuesday trying to get in contact with a manager at LIALS to inquire what had happened to our laptop (and was given the run around), since the drivers story and the accountants do NOT match!
I was finally put in touch with Joe, a manager at LIALS. He told me that the driver couldn't find the laptop, so Joe asked him to bring the van in so HE could search it. He of course found nothing. This is a two year old laptop which isn't worth all that much, so I'm guessing that the other gentleman on the shuttle (the accountant, who is also an MBA) would probably have gone out a purchased a newer much faster machine, if he had felt the need.
The fact that the driver told me that the accountant had taken the machine, (which I seriously doubt) AND and that they had searched the van AFTER that, tells me that the skin head is pulling a fast one! He is in fact the only person, given the short time frames involved who could have taken it.
In conclusion, if you're ever left with the choice of walking to the airport on foot or taking a LIALS shuttle, break out your sneakers! These guys are CRIMINALS!!!
Police have been called in on this!!! Don't put your familys safety in jepardy with that type of operation!!!