ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – Pete Zeban, 66, is a retired chauffeur now living in Florida. He recently self-published his memoirs, “Secret Stories From Behind the Wheel,” offering more than 70 real-life tales detailing his experiences driving a limousine.
Once a passenger left $50,000 in the back seat of his limo and Zeban raced after the man to return the money. Another time he picked up a prize French poodle that was flown in on a private jet at Newark International Airport.
On yet another ride, he looked into the rear-view mirror and saw his passenger attempting to commit suicide by slitting her wrists. Zeban stopped the woman, bandaged her wounds and carefully drove her home. It turned out she had just lost $150,000 at the blackjack tables in Atlantic City. “I want to die,” she cried. But she did remember to tip Zeban, giving him $400 – by credit card.
“A limo driver becomes a psychologist at times,” Zeban wrote in his book.
Zeban was not always a limo driver. An office worker for the state of New Jersey, he went to a friend’s wedding and saw a beautiful white stretch Lincoln Town car parked in front of the church. It was love at first sight – and Zeban soon began his new career. For the next 13 years he drove a limousine around the state.
Zeban has carted plenty of celebrities during his career as a chauffeur. Queen Latifah, Les Paul and astronaut Alan Shepherd are only a few of the big names he has driven. But his book is not about the big names, it’s more about the average people he met. He especially remembers the prom-bound teenagers who tipped him in ice cream.