Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trip Disaster: Houston, we have a problem!

At the beginning of April, we moved from the West Coast to the East Coast. On our travels, we got to see Denver, Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, Grand Junction, Colorado,  Mount Rushmore, Roswell, New Mexico (UFO Museum), and San Antonio (Alamo, haunted Menger Hotel, and The Riverwalk). We planned to visit New Orleans, a city we didn't have time to visit in March 2005, a few months prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Our biggest mistakes on the relocation move was stopping in Houston, Texas to eat the original Carrabba's Italian Grill located on 3115 Kirby Drive, the site of the worst trip disaster ever.

While on I-10, we got stuck on heavy traffic for about an hour. Apparently, an 18-wheeler caused a major accident. We were hungry since leaving San Antonio at around noon. The I-Phone GPS guided us off the freeway. While in Denver, Colorado visiting my brother's family, we planned to use the Carrabba's gift card. However, the restaurant opened up late - around 4:30 p.m. It is strange a perfect storm can happen without any warning.

After driving an exclusive part of Houston, Texas, we made it to the original Carrabba's restaurant. The restaurant converted their traditional parking lot to valet. We parked in their new parking structure. This parking structure is extremely close to the restaurant front entrance. It was around 4pm. We walked into the restaurant, thinking nothing about the major disaster looming near.

The server took awhile to greet us. We planned to leave since the menu prices were too high. Even before entering the restaurant, we thought about leaving the restaurant. The server took our orders. He came back with some bread and oil. We were extremely hungry. In San Antonio, we had dinner around 7-8 pm.

It took some time, but our entrees arrived. The food tasted decent. It is nothing like Olive Garden. Carrabba's doesn't offer a salad or soup with any of their entrees. We had $50 on a gift card. After we ate all we could, we requested two to-go boxes. We ordered a tiramisu, which tasted awful. It is nothing like Olive Garden and or Romano's. I never tasted a tiramisu so rich and sweet.

I requested the check. In the guest book, I put the $50 gift card and my credit card inside. The bill added up to $46.00. I intended to give the server a far greater tip. The server took our guest book. He took awhile, and then returned with the guest book. He said that I didn't need to use my credit card because the gift card had plenty to cover the check. Now, we waited to get the server's attention again.

I almost left the restaurant to drive across the street. I wanted to tip the server on a credit card. We didn't have any cash on hand. Our trip funds were on our bank cards. We decided to order a hot tea to leave a tip. Another 25 minutes passed by, which we then added a tip and left the restaurant.

We never thought we would find the worst disaster ever. We discovered the front driver window was smashed out. This occurred while we dined inside Carrabba's. The restaurant security was already calling in the police report. He approached me, interrogating me like a criminal. He asked are you this person who lives in Houston. I can't remember the name he mentioned. Then, he kept cranking out the questions of who we were and why my license plates are registered under the name and Houston address.

I kept telling him this is our car. We are relocating from California to the East Coast. You think this security guard would show some empathy for this disaster. He continued to question me, telling me to show proof of insurance and my registration. Of course, we couldn't show these documents because some low life criminals took them along with everything we possibly owned. We never nothing out in the open.

The security guard told us that the area is very exclusive and safe. Maybe some crime network targeted the parking structure while Carrabba's has them on a 3-hour daily break. He does not know why Carrabba's elects not to keep their security on between 2-5pm. Carrabba's owns this parking structure. They also claim to have state-of-the-art video surveillance that happened to be pointing right at the vehicle.

The security and the management kept apologizing. They offered to clean out the glass. We were invited in the restaurant to have a soda and water. The manager replenished our gift card. What good is that when $10,000 worth of personal belongings and thousands worth of intellectual property are gone? I also had to pay $250 to replace the window.

Once the security guard completed the police report, they told us to repair the window at an Acura dealership. By this time, it was already late. He told us to stay at a local hotel and have the staff watch our car. We wanted to leave Houston as quickly as possible. My fiance was shaken up. She cried the entire time in the restaurant. The shock hit me then, but not completely until my insurance company refused to pay out my claim.

According to an informal conversation via e-mail, my insurance company prematurely canceled out my renter's insurance policy 6 months early. This was a 6-year old policy good up until October 2012. A few days after leaving our apartment, I called to speak with my agent. However, my agent was helping another customer. I paid my auto insurance, and then asked about possibly canceling my renter's insurance. To my knowledge, I had no idea to retain this policy. My apartment required me to keep renter's insurance.

The insurance company canceled my policy out, though I didn't find out until a day after the loss. My agent told me I should have retained the policy. However, we never talked on the phone the entire time. I never sent a formal request to cancel. He mentioned the e-mail request recently changed a few months ago. According to the Claim's Department, the e-mail request has always be in effect. The policy only states that you can cancel with notifying them in writing and or return the policy - two small sentences. The policy has 50 pages of ways you can get canceled and what they wouldn't cover

According to my agent and the district manager, I had one of the best renter's policies ever. I had a low premium and a ton of coverage. They would have paid the entire loss. What good does that do us when the insurance company backdated the cancellation to a day prior to my move-out. I talked to every decision making entity from the bottom and up to the top. They refuse to reinstate my policy and pay out the claim.

The night of the loss, we drove home through 5 states with rain pouring into the car space. Bugs, fog, heat, and other insects smothered us. We didn't sleep the entire night, driving 24-hours straight to our destination. I drove over 1,000-1,250 miles that night. The restaurant kept putting us in the American crime rate. They say people get robbed on every corner in America. They showed no empathy for a first time crime in their new parking structure.

To make matters worse, their Town and Country insurance representative told us we are not obligated to security and the restaurant does not have to keep us safe. This lady kept referring to the crime as an American crime rate problem. We shared that someone hit her car in a parking lot and she had to pay for the damages. The general manager of the restaurant and their insurance representative seemed to be reading from the same script.

We faxed the 5 pages of items stolen in the robbery to the Houston police. We called many times to follow-up with the case. However, the Houston police never engaged into the crime. They allowed time to pass. I even provided them with information from another third party. This vital information would have guided the Houston police right to the criminals.

The Houston police never sent the police letter head request to obtain the information. They also never reviewed the video surveillance of the criminals robbing our vehicle. Moreover, the Houston never once returned any of our calls. When the Houston police station answered the phone, they struggled to verify the case number and raised their tone as if we didn't have a case on file. Houston police are the worst police department I have ever dealt with ever.

Nearly 3 months after our robbery, the Houston police and the original Carrabba's Italian Grill refuse to investigate the grand theft. They could have possibly apprehended these criminals. It makes you think that someone inside is connected to this crime. Why not review the tape and follow-up with sensitive information. A slam dunk case becomes a cold case. We got treated like crap.

My insurance company refuses to pay out the claim. They canceled my renter's insurance based on informal e-mail communication. What they are hinting to me is that if a hacker got into my e-mail and sent out drafts or an fraudulent e-mail, they would not reinstate the policy. I tried for almost 3-months to work with the insurance company, but they refuse to listen. I invested many hours writing and talking on the phone. Almost 10 years as a customer, I never once had any problems.

Because of our major loss, we have been unemployed. We can't find any jobs in our current area. Many job submissions, but constant rejections enter my box. I ran out of money to survive. We couldn't fly to the West Coast to take city job tests for finance jobs that could have put us in a better situation. We earned graduate degrees, holding 7 college degrees between the two of us. No such luck. Do I have terribly bad karma? I don't know. It really seems like the world i crushing me.

I generate 50,000+ unique visits per month on my entertainment network. In result, I don't make more than $20 per month. I can't think of any way to be happy. The criminals took so many valuable items. They have my U.S. Passport, Social Security card, my resumes, 200 movie taglins, a 3,500 original quote book that took me 3 years to write, all my writing samples for the past 10 years, 6 years of pictures (no duplicates - even our trip images from the cities mentioned in the opening), my graduate thesis with no copy (95 pages), 10 movie screenplays with no copies, and much more. We lost $10,000 worth of personal possessions. Everything gone. No job. No money. Losing hope.

I lost hope in the police system. I don't trust deadbeat restaurant that claims their security team and system are top-notch. They refused to review the security footage with criminals robbing our vehicle. They increased the risk to not have their security on for 3-hours, the last hour resulting in us getting robbed in broad daylight. I don't have faith in my insurance company that is acting in bad faith to deny my claim due to informal e-mails with no policy number, name, and not even direct enough to cancel out the policy.

You may see me produce many articles across hundreds of websites. As Howard said in The Network, "I'm mad as Hell and won't take it anymore". I'm beyond mad. Houston, Texas is a disaster. It is a city I refuse to visit no matter what honor I may receive in the near future. This current hardship has lasted many years. We did everything right to reach our dreams and goals. We even left our apartment to relocate. I now sleep on a raft bed on the floor. I accept my fate, because nothing else is working out right now.

Forget about people giving us a chance. I got rejected from working at Home Depot and World Market. I missed out on a great job due to lacking Adobe Omniture experience. Got rejected for a project manager job. Received multiple rejections from many employers. I try to stay positive. On this very day, I'm completely broke. I have less than $2 in my pocket. If I could sell my website content, I would. I've written thousands of articles, with some generating 22,000 views just for one article.

Our recent trip to relocate resulted in getting robbed. Two people later insulted me about me being worthless. They think I'm pathetic and have nothing to offer. Imagine people with education but possess experience in one trade stepping on you. I served in the military as a medical technician. I served my country. I am a current veteran. I possess four college degrees - a Master's Degree in Public Administration, B.A. in Film & Media Studies out of UCSB, A.A. in Film, and another A.A. in Liberal Arts. I'm a highly skilled writer. I know how to do SEO, as well as engage in social media to enhance web marketing. I possess strong skills in domains.

My experience should land me a good job. In the past 18 years, I have worked extremely hard to reach my screenwriting dreams. In a snap of a finger, my entire dream vanished into thin air. Houston criminals have my Apple computer in their possession. Without that Apple, my dreams and goals are lost. I don't have the luxury of time to recreate the writing samples. I doubt I can write 3,500 original quotes again. It took me a few months to write 200 movie taglines.

Poor security, a bad police department, a missing video surveillance tape, an insurance company acting in bad faith, and many setbacks destroyed our dreams and goals. We can barely pay our bills. Today, I can say that this is the first time in 12 years I can't afford my bills. I have no backup plan to survive the perfect storm.

This is our true story. It really sucks to keep getting bad karma. I'm always doing good things to help people. I ran out of luck on April 16, 2012, the afternoon that destroyed our future. A perfectly good road trip turned into a nightmare. Five days after we got robbed in Houston, four banks were robbed. One bank down the street from the Houston police department got robbed. The robber fired a bullet up in the air, one block away from the Houston police department. According to the local news there, crime is up 50% from the previous year. Does that make you want to visit Houston? In my opinion, I would avoid visiting Houston.

Nobody in Houston wants to take accountability. Based on the crime committed against us, the common violent crime excuse gets the Houston police off the hook for not investigating our loss. It is possible that solving this case that involves many thousands could lead them to a larger crime network. The police didn't take any finger prints, refused to review the surveillance tape, and the assigned officer to the case never returned any calls. According to the third party company's legal department, the Houston police never submitted a request to obtain vital information. Their actions demonstrate they have no interest solving criminal cases, especially against outside travelers entering their city the first time. The restaurant is just as bad.

Now you know the facts about Houston, Texas, Soon enough, I will reveal the name of the insurance company that allowed an informal e-mail to cancel out a renter's insurance policy of 6 years. They are refusing to honor a claim, stating that we have proof in writing that you wanted the policy canceled and you are responsible for finding coverage. Wow! We were moving. I exchanged informal e-mails while driving on the road. Almost two weeks after we left the apartment, the insurance company backdates an informal e-mail to cancel a policy. I never heard of an insurance company backdating cancellation based on an e-mail.

Based on the timeline, the last e-mail I never viewed resulted in our renter's insurance getting canceled. To make this worse, their chain of command dispute the case the same. I did have a LegalZoom lawyer send a demand to pay note, but the adjuster wrote an e-mail to state they have proof in writing  that I no longer have coverage. I'm thinking about taking this case to the Department of Insurance. If they can't help, I don't have the funds to risk going to court.

Would you think that writing a book with all the facts about our trip disaster improve our situation. I can show the e-mails that got me canceled out, which cost us more than $10K. The Carrabba's restaurant and the Houston police lack integrity. The manager of the restaurant stated the next day that they would cooperate teh best they could to retrieve our possessions. I doubted him then. I knew our personal belongings were gone. Two months later, the same manager I call again admitted our possessions were long gone.

Carrabba's Italian Grill in Houston, Texas swept the robbery case under their rug. They continue to pack their restaurant, as well as making money from their valet parking that used to operate as traditional parking. If you elect to not use their valet parking, you must park in a parking garage they own and operate. Their security is inadequate to keep anyone safe. The surveillance footage is someone lost in the shuffle. Maybe the police department and or Carrabba's have possession of the tape, but are acting too slow to solve the cold case.

If you want to read more about the details of the case, visit VisitHouston and or HoustonTravelExperience. I keep the websites updated to increase awareness. I never want to see our disaster happen to another person. Nobody in the world deserves this poor treatment. We are trying to recover. It will be a long journey. As for anyone reading this article, I hope you are safe and have much better karma than us. Happy July 4th! Keep an eye on your surroundings. Stay alert. Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment