Claim: Rental car company’s return of client’s forgotten personal property leads to discovery of affair.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2012]
My brother is a driver for a car rental company. When he picks up a car from the customer he cleans it and gets it ready for the next
customer. On cleaning one particular car he found a pair of lady’s shoes. The next time he passed the customer’s house he took the shoes to the lady of the house. She said thanks and closed the door. They were not her shoes! She divorced her husband who had hired the car earlier.
Origins: The story above brings to mind the following well traveled joke:
Two guys go into a health club; one is putting on panty hose. “Since when did you start wearing panty hose?” “Since my wife found them in my glove compartment.”
Like many other legends involving instances of adultery brought to light, the “returned shoes” yarn presents an infidelity revealed by some unfortunate (for the adulterer) happenstance. In the “Stuck Couple” legend, the goings on between a cheating wife and her lover come to light only when they become trapped in passionate embrace during a make out session in a small car,
necessitating their having to be freed from their predicament by the town’s fire department. In the “Wives Fly Free” legend, a long-suffering spouse learns about her husband’s doings only through a letter from an airline asking her how she’d enjoyed accompanying her husband on his recent business trip as the airline’s guest. In “The Dog Walker” story, man’s best friend unknowingly reveals the truth when the wife takes her husband’s dog out for its usual evening stroll, only to have the pooch make a beeline for the home of an attractive negligee-clad neighbor. A wife’s adultery is revealed in the “Letter to Sailors” tale via a child’s letter to sailors about how Mommy has been behaving while Daddy has been away serving in the U.S. Navy.
Sometimes, however, it’s the adulterer himself who gives the game away, as in the tale about the fellow employed at the World Trade Center who on that fateful morning was instead in the arms of his mistress when his frantic wife reached him by cell phone to ask where he was. (“Where do you think I am? I’m at the office!” did not go over well.)
While the tale about the returned shoes might or might not be the real thing, one of its details points towards its being more a matter of fancy than of fact. While the woman handed the unfamiliar pair of shoes might well have blurted out to the car jockey bringing them to her that they were not in fact hers, how would that helpful rental car employee subsequently come to find out the couple had afterwards divorced?
Barbara “call of the riled” Mikkelson
Last updated: 13 November 2012