Limousines

Nearly all the business executives I know who use car services for travel avoid limousines in favor of sedans. One exception I can think of, is when there is a large group so a limousine is more cost-effective. The other is the old school types  (now few and far between) who think they are impressing suppliers by picking them up in a block long vehicle.

However, the car service companies sometimes feel they are rewarding a good client by “upgrading” them to a limousine from a town car.

I remember an occasion at the end of a long trip that culminated in an offsite meeting in the New York area and the concern I felt when I was told, “Oh, and since you are such a good customer, we are sending a limo.” “Please don’t; it’s not necessary.” The reply — “It’s on us, no extra charge.”

“You don’t understand,” I said. “My associates will be picked up in sedans or drive their own cars and there is no way I want them to think that I use limos … which I don’t.”

“I’m sorry,” the dispatcher said, “but the car is on the way and should be there in 10 minutes.”

In a near panic I replied, “Listen, call him and tell him to stay at the entrance and I’ll come down the hill to him. No way I want to be picked up at the main entrance.”

So my luggage and me walked half a mile and, like someone who is on the run or has something to hide, I looked left and right a dozen times before I got in the limo. If I could disguise myself, I would have. I got away undetected.

Someone else I knew was not so lucky.

The company plane came back from a trip. It could have been the retreat at Ivy Creek or a Tunnel of Love tour to the regions. I can’t remember which.  It was raining, no, make that teeming. The plane — Whiskey 7 — pulled up to the hanger at Westchester Airport and stopped. The tarmac was full of car service vehicles waiting to pick us up.

When the crew opened the door and dropped the stairs, a driver from the limousine at the head of the line ran up the stairs with an umbrella. We all thought it was for Edgar Jr. But, in a loud voice he declared, “ Mr. A please?”

Out of the back of the plane, more than a bit sheepish, Mr. A said (in a very low voice) “Be right there.”

Mr. A was known as someone who did a great job for the company but also liked his creature comforts. His favorite expression was “The best revenge is a good meal.”

As he walked down the stairs, as the rest of us waited, Junior said, “See you tomorrow… Stretch.”

He was known as Stretch evermore.

To this day I don’t know if he was a victim of an over zealous car company or a guy who got caught.

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