A couple of years ago, Mr Raz and I took a trip to London, England to visit my brother and his family. Unable pick us up at Heathrow, my Sister in Law suggested she send the driver that my brother uses for business. Arrangements were made and she told me to look for him at the Starbucks just outside Arrivals. He would have my name on a card.
We cleared customs very quickly and arrived at the Starbucks.
There was a very well dressed chauffeur with a suit and polished shoes. He was holding a sign.
MRS. C ALLEN
Air Canada 787
Hello, I said, we're the Allen's.
With a swoop and almost a bow, he welcomed "Madam" and took my case and escorted us to the most gorgeous, polished Jaguar within a few metres of the terminal.
He handed me a newspaper.
"Your Newspaper Madam"
And offered Mr. Raz a paper also.
I must say I was quite impressed.
With the car.
With the Chauffeur.
With my brother for having a job that provided such luxuries.
At the time he worked for WARNER MUSIC.
He's been to P-Diddy's party.
He gets invites to the Grammy's.
This guy had probably driven Michael Buble and Madonna.
Par for the Course!
As we exited the airport, the Driver confirmed our destination.
"Prince's Gates Madam?"
"Let me check", I said, now frowning and fishing for the scrap of crumpled paper from my purse, which I was now starting to feel should have had a Prada label.
"No...Park Farm Road" I say,,,,
Him. " I was to take you to the Prince's Gate"
Me: " No you must have been given it wrong"
All of a sudden, everything seemed to feel wrong.....
The Polished Chauffeur
the Dazzling car
Mr. Raz. sensed it too and gave me the "The Look" and started shaking his head.
"You are the Callens? the Driver asked?
"We're the Allens, the C Allen's" I said, in a now small and rather squeaky voice.
I must say, the British formality ruled. He was very bothered, and quietly steaming, but did his best not to be all out hostile with us.
His main concern being his "Intended Party" still waiting at the Terminal for a driver from HMS or God know where.......
He hurried us back to the terminal, refused a tip, and we were unceremoniously dumped on the Terminal sidewalk, muttering embarrassed and very red faced apologies.
We dragged ourselves back to Starbucks, where a very agitated man in running shoes and jeans and a Tshirt was standing holding a sign.
AIR CANADA 787
In his heavy accent he reprimanded us.
"You are wery, wery late, Plane come long time ago. I vait long time. I charge you more."
We followed him through what seemed like a mile of parking lot to a grubby blue minivan.
"Park Farm Road" I said before he had even started the car.
A lot of things had to align in the process of this happening. First , it had to have been feasible that a fancy car and chauffeur could be sent for us. Given the nature of my brothers job, it could be possible that Warner Music had a driver on staff. Secondly, we had to clear customs before Mrs. Callen and get to the Starbucks first. Given she was in first class, she would have excited the plane before us. Third, there were two drivers with signs, Callen and C Allen. We only saw one. Fourth, the driver had to be well trained enough not to have shown his surprise (or alarm) that his Intended Party were dressed down in jeans and carried Walmart suitcases.
After telling our story to our various relatives over the week, to which they all keeled over with belly wrenching laughter, we discovered that the Prince's Gate is home to many of London's foreign Embassies and Consulates.
I had assumed that the car was a "Warner Music" car and driver, and given the Celebrity nature of the business, I did not find it the least bit odd that my brother, who had a high position in the Company, would have access to their driver.
I hope our poor "chauffeur" was able to have a chuckle when he retold that story when he got home.
My brother still shakes his head and says
"What made you think I had a chauffeur?"