Bad behavior by VIPs in limos can lead to all kinds of tricky situations for operators. Here is a scene from the limo stop involving the mayor of Stockton, Calif.
I want to preface this with a chide that every single farm order ever sent to me from Music Express, EmpireCLS, Savoya, Commonwealth, etc. all claim that THIS client is a VIP. I’d like to think that every passenger in our vehicles are treated as a “VIP” but really, most of them are just ordinary Joes. They put their pants on the same way I do and they have a job. Hardly makes them “VIP” in the traditional sense.
Then, there are “real” VIPs! They are elected officials including former U.S. Presidents, legendary musical artists such as Elton or Cher, to the local mayor or other elected politicos. Yes, I have chauffeured them. They are people that make heads turn and camera flashes start popping. It’s when those people become a VBP and you just don’t know what to do, when the trouble starts. We can all talk bad-ass and say, “I don’t care who you are Tony, you gotta settle down right now!” No, that is not what you do. You scratch your head for a minute and try to figure out the best course of action, even trying to protect said elected official from bad press. The saying, “Any press is good press,” probably isn’t what Stockton Calif. Mayor Anthony Silva is thinking of a late 2014 limousine ride. News article here
It turns out a passenger in Mayor Silva’s limousine went a little berserk and damaged the limo and the mouth of a female passenger. While the mayor was not arrested, his passenger was arrested by the California Highway Patrol for battery and also charged with destruction of the limousine. This a good thing for the limo service as the suspect will eventually be ordered to pay restitution, and if he’s rolling with the mayor, chances are he’s got a few bucks to spare.
Even leading me further to believe he has bucks is the fact that the suspect exited the vehicle with no shirt on, one shoe and yelling for someone to “Call Vinnie at the FBI,” and, “I’ll be free in about two minutes.” He made another statement to the officers to the effect that Vinnie was going to make them pay for arresting him. People like that tend to scare me. Now, seriously, think about your chauffeur watching all this go down!
Something went down in the back of that limo. The CHP says all of the passengers were intoxicated. The three people in the back of the vehicle all have a different version. Once the media got word of Mayor Silva’s wild ride, Silva issued a public statement implying that he was an “unfortunate witness” to an act of domestic violence. The arrested man claims that he didn’t assault his girlfriend but……Mr. Mayor inappropriately touched the girlfriend resulting in an altercation in which the girl may or may not have been placed in a headlock. Again, your chauffeur is the primary witness. He’s the only one in the vehicle not intoxicated that knows what is going on. VIPs. You’ve gotta love them.
One strange twist: The CHP estimated damage to the limousine to be “over $400.” A lawsuit filed against the mayor alleges “more than $10,000” in damages. Mayor Silva told Ty Ries, owner of Ty’s Boss Limos, “You’ve got a credit card right there. … Charge the credit card. It will be taken care of.” Reis processed the card for $12,000 but Mayor Silva initiated a chargeback. Oops.
How have you fellow operators handled VBPs?
Related item: Stockton Mayor Defends Himself
Series: How to handle difficult run-ins with law enforcement over a limousine.
Driving Gem: Plenty of things unrelated to phones can result in accidents.
Driving Gem: Lifting and handling luggage is never good for the back.
See how I talked my way out of this common nuisance for waiting chauffeurs.
In my face off between a chauffeur in a stretch and a restaurant security guard, who wins when the police show up?