Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hope Like Ice-Cream

I met a guy today called Hendry who is a courtesy driver for a car dealership I send my vehicle to for servicing. As is always the case when I meet people for the first time, I dive straight into the depths of who they are and what they're all about. Its almost become a passion of mine to garner as much information as I can about strangers I meet; almost as though I were compiling a top secret database on the human race. In truth some people I have met really didn't belong in the category "The Human Race", but thats an entirely different story altogether.

So Hendry and I got to chatting about the sandwich of life and everything in between that we call filling. He spends almost every waking hour behind the wheel of whatever courtesy vehicle the dealership designates to him, ferrying people to and from the workplace he never gets to call home; to the point that his lunch hour is spent somewhere en-route to a clients home or office.
So I asked him about the worst client he ever had the displeasure of meeting. I love these extreme questions with their fascinating answers.
Hendry relates to me the day he took a client to her workplace at a foreign embassy in Pretoria. The drive took no more than 30 minutes, but in that time she fired off so many instructions to him, he felt like a human filofax. Most of the instructions really didnt pertain to him or his duty as a courtesy driver, but he listened nonetheless. The rest of the time she spent on her mobile or laptop, giving him the impression that she was a high-powered executive at the embassy.
At the end of the day upon being informed that her vehicle was ready for collection, she advised Hendry that she was too busy to accompany him to the dealership to collect the vehicle, and would send her assistant instead. Hendry was to meet said assistant at the waiting-zone outside the embassy.

Peak hour traffic begins at 4:30pm, and he arrived at 4p allowing him sufficient time to get back to the dealership and miss the snarl of cars crawling along the highways.
As he pulled up at the embassy, he was waved down at the waiting-zone by a smartly dressed and equally high-powered looking blonde female. Sure her hair colour shouldnt be of any consequence to Hendry's tale, but im simply relaying it as it was relayed to me.
Without a response to his greeting, she continues to chat on her phone while simultaneously operating her laptop, never once looking up.

A half-hour later and punctual to the minute, our man Hendry arrives at the dealership and politely disembarks to open the door for the client, who at this point has closed her laptop and tucked away her mobile. With a quizzical look around, she turns to Hendry and snaps "This doesnt look like the airport!"

Turns out she was neither the clients assistant nor knew who the client was.
She was simply waiting for the shuttle service which took embassy members to the airport!
Hendry, with an equally shocked look on his face, now realised that there was an assistant waiting to be collected at the embassy, and another staff member needing to get to the airport, all this in peak hour traffic. Knowing full well that this day had no hope of a happy ending,Hendry decided to take some time out to allow the gravity of the situation to fully soak in, while having an ice-cream.