At a recent event I went I had the pleasure to get driven in a limo and get to talk to the driver.
While I was talking to him I found that he had some very interesting stories. One thing leads to another and he agreed to sit down for an interview. For the interview, he asked that his identity remain hidden as he didn’t want it to affect his job or the company he works for.
As you will read in the interview you will understand why these measures have taken place.
For the purpose of the interview, I’ll be referring to him as John Smith.
Joshua: Hi, thanks for sitting down with me. I guess first things first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
John: Well my name is John Smith and I have been a Limo Driver for about 22 years now
Joshua: How did you get into driving a limo?
John: It started when I was in university. I was actually a taxi driver before I drove a limo. My parents didn’t have a lot of money so in order for me to go to uni I had to work and I have always loved cars. So I started driving a cab and then after about 5 years there was a job opening for a limo driver so I applied and got the job.
Joshua: Is there any special training for limo drivers?
John: There is a little bit but it’s mostly about being polite and being a gentleman really. You just have to always do everything in that car like if they run out of water bottles then you just put more in, if it rains then you put the roll-out carpet on the floor and have an umbrella for them just stuff like that.
Joshua: So what did you study at uni?
John: I was studying accounting but I never finished, I was making a fair bit of money and decided to drive the taxi more and eventually dropped out.
Joshua: Do you think you would go back?
John: Not really, it was never a passion for me, I was more into cars than anything and I just saw accounting as a way to make the most money.
Joshua: So generally what type of people or groups do you drive around?
John: We get the normal weddings and social events like that but we also get elderly couples on their anniversary and also a group of people on a night out to a concert or a show.
Joshua: What groups would you say you get the most?
John: Surprisingly we get more couples on dates or anniversaries than anything else.
Joshua: That’s very interesting, do a lot of those couples travel anywhere in particular?
John: Some go from their house to a restaurant then to a show and back to a hotel but recently I’ve had a few trips that have been up to wineries and back. They’re long drives but it’s a nice view as you are driving.
Joshua: Have you done any special events like the Brownlow or the Logies?
John: Yes although not so much the Logies since they have moved to Sydney.
Joshua: Did you drive anyone famous?
John: Most of the time going to these events the limos a full of groups so it’s hard to tell but I did drive Chris Judd to the Brownlow in 2010.
Joshua: He won that year, how was the trip back?
John: Let’s just say there was a lot of champagne.
Joshua: Out of your 20 plus years driving, who would you say was the most famous person you drove?
John: Oh that would have to be Olivia Newton-John.
Joshua: Wow that’s pretty cool, how was the night?
John: It was good, she actually organized the limo for her friends and they went out to dinner and a show. She was really nice and polite, most of her friends just kind of brushed me off but at the end of the night she was asking me to have a photo with me. She is a really nice lady.
Joshua: Now driving that long you must have some bad trips. Have you ever had someone have an accident in the limo?
John: I can’t really say I have never had an accident but it’s not as many as you think. I’ve found that people are a little more respectful when in the limo although we have had a few incidents.
Joshua: Care to talk about them?
John: Well lately we have stopped taking in late-night calls, these are basically people who call after 11 pm for a limo to take them home from a club but haven’t booked one. These people normally are high on quite a few drugs mainly ice. It sometimes gets really bad as they are violent and hard to communicate with. We have had to replace the glass divider 3 times in the last 6 months but what made us stop was that I was driving a group home and we stopped at the traffic light and all jumped out and made a run for it. They had already paid so it was nothing to do with that but there was a girl left in the back seat. She had basically taken more than what she was meant to and I had to take her into the hospital. Later I found out the people she was with where just a random group that took her away from her friends.
Joshua: Wow that sounds like it would have been an intense situation. Has that experience changed how you act?
John: Well not really, I mean I am a little more cautious than I was before but it hasn’t put me off driving. I was a little shaky when it happened but the company where I work keeps you really well protected and you are always checking in with them so you are always safe.
Joshua: When you were driving the taxi or even now driving the limo have you ever rode in one?
John: Oh yes I have and it was really strange
Joshua: Well there goes my next question
John: (laughs) sorry about that
Joshua: So what was strange about the experience?
John: I just had a lot of instincts kick in like I kept trying to do the driver’s job for him without realizing it. I also then at the end made the whole group thank the driver which he liked and noticed straight away that I was a fellow driver.
Joshua: What has been the furthest you have taken someone?
John: Oh that would have to be this DJ I drove from Melbourne to Adelaide, he missed his flight and I had to drive him and his equipment all the way to Adelaide to get him there by 1 am. It was a very tough drive but the view was nice.
Joshua: Did you get to have a chat with him?
John: Not really, he was as high as I kite and most of the time unconscious but I got him there and that was really my only job.
Joshua: Ok last question, what has been the highlight of your career?
John: Oh man I should have mentioned this before but I drove some people to tapings of this is your life. One of the people I drove was Peter Brock, he had no idea where he was going and he even signed the picture I had of him.
Joshua: Awesome, so did you know you were going to drive him?
John: Yeah I did, I came pre-prepared with the picture I didn’t just have it in the car, that might be a little strange. It is now framed and in my man cave but that was definitely a highlight.
Joshua: Well thanks again for sitting down with me and I hope you enjoyed yourself
John: No problem I had a blast As you can see John has been through quite a bit and in his years of driving and I hope you have enjoyed this insight into Limo Drivers. John is very passionate about cars and racing and is hoping one day to drive on the Bathurst race track.
Thank you so much again John for sitting down with me for this interview.