Business was good and I found myself having to drive into Manhattan quite often to meet with clients or other traders. After a long day trading and then having a few drinks, I almost fell asleep on the way home a few times. I mentioned it to my wife and she suggested I get a driver so I could sleep in the back. The idea of having someone else drive me was an anathema, but killing myself because I fell asleep was worse. So I shopped for a car that would permit me to sleep in the back seat comfortably and even drive me, and clients, around Manhattan. There were 2 car companies competing in this space, the Lincoln Continental and the Cadillac. Since I had a bad experience with a caddy, I elected to get a Conti.
Now I needed to find a driver, who lived in the suburbs and knew his way around Manhattan. I found one. I don’t remember how I found him, but he claimed to have been the driver for a foreign Consulate in Manhattan and originally came from Jamaica – so he spoke English, more or less.
Now that I had a driver I started going to Manhattan with a lot of frequency. Usually I fell asleep in the backseat right away. One Sunday I was washing the QV in the driveway, when I noticed scrapes down the side doors of the Conti, from front to back. I studied the damage and could not figure out what had caused it. When I asked the driver, he said he never noticed it. (That should have been a sign)
A few days later we were driving into Manhattan on the Hutchinson River Parkway. As we approached the toll booth, I noticed the 3 foot, 3 inch tubes, stuck in the ground around the booth, to protect the toll collector from errant drivers, and I thought amusingly of how scary it must be to sit in this wooden shack hoping no drunk drivers fell out of his lane.
When we got to the booth, my driver rolled down his window and moved left, to be closer to the basket where he was going to throw in his coins. He bounced gently off the poles and dropped his coins in the basket. As he accelerated he moved right, and bounced off the poles in the neighboring booth.
I was speechless, specially since the driver didn’t say anything. When we arrived at our destination I quickly exited the car and walked around to check the damage to the doors. There in exactly the same place were new scratches! I had discovered the culprit! I asked him if he noticed what happened at the toll gate.
“Well, maybe a bit. The road is too small for such a great vehicle.” He said smiling.
That evening I took my wife out for dinner in a new restaurant a couple of towns north of us. We asked the driver to drive us, as we were planing on drinking a couple of bottles of wine with dinner. My wife and I fell asleep in the car as soon as we left the driveway.
All of a sudden, we woke up with a loud bang. “What happened?” I asked.
The driver pulled over on the side of the Interstate and said, “Something jumped out at us and hit us.”
I looked back a few hundred yards and saw a dead deer on the side of the road. The Conti had a lot of cosmetic damage to the front end, but was drivable. We continued on to the restaurant thanking our stars that we had been in a tank.
The next day I fired the driver and sold what was left of the Conti.