Driving Miss Rose

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 4 comments

Driving Miss Rose

When I was consulting back on the East coast, I used a very small limo service owned by an elderly couple. Leo would drive me to and pick me up from the New York airports in a stretch limo. But he was different from other limo drivers. They would all be standing at the bottom of the escalators near baggage claim, with their printed signs identifying their arriving clients. Leo, on the other hand, would usually be sitting in a chair with no sign, sound asleep. I’d walk up to him, wake him up, and affectionately say, “ Leo, this just isn’t right. Look at all of those other drivers, standing at attention, eager to meet their clients, and here you are—asleep, with a string of saliva hanging from your mouth.” He, of course, would apologize and instantly try to act more professional. But this was one of the reasons that I loved working with Leo. He was uniquely down to earth and we had a close friendship. I loved bantering with him. I didn’t care about all of the bells and whistles that the other drivers showed off. I liked Leo’s quirkiness and his lack of pretention didn’t bother me at all.

One day, I came down to the baggage claim area at Newark Airport and found Rose, Leo’s wife, waiting for me. She mentioned that Leo was stuck in traffic over at Kennedy Airport and he had asked her to pick me up since he couldn’t make it in time. So, we headed out to the limo together. When we got there, she asked me how I preferred to get home. What route did I normally take? I could sense her nervousness, particularly since it was Friday afternoon rush hour and she was driving the stretch limo. So, I shifted gears and said, “Rose, why don’t you let me drive the limo home? The route is a bit complicated and I don’t mind at all.” And with that, I got into the driver’s seat with her sitting next to me and we drove to my house. Needless to say, she was very appreciative and very relieved. Plus, she and I had a wonderful conversation the entire way home.

To me, those are the types of relationship I cherish. It didn’t matter to me that I was the client and Rose was the service provider. I knew she was anxious and the solution was an easy fix. But a few of my colleagues in our consulting firm were upset with this lack of “professionalism” and ended up hiring another limo service because of this incident. It’s interesting how we are all different. I just didn’t see anything inappropriate about me driving the limo. I actually got a kick out of it, and it’s simply a funny story. We all seek different things in relationships. There’s no right or wrong. But I wish I could have one more drive with both Leo and Rose—we’d laugh up a storm.

4 Comments

  1. I so love this story, John! And I remember the incident as if it were yesterday. It’s a snapshot of history that remains so dear. Reading this makes me smile…and brings a tear to my eye!

  2. Boo to those other consultants. I hope you continued to use their services. You are right John, it is the relationships in life that matter. Sweet story. Sad ending.

  3. John, that’s a great story and it sounds so much like you! It’s what makes you different, and head and tails above, the other consultants. Thank you!

  4. Rose recently won the Formula 1 Gran Prix in Monaco. In the limo.

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