Thursday, March 22, 2007

Drivers: We had some bad ones

After a few months, Grant wanted to stop the driving as it was killing him physically. He was also responsible for the accounts and general day to day office work, so we needed to hire our first driver.

An advert was placed in the Cape Times and interviews were conducted at our house. I have never seen such a sorry bunch of individuals in my life but one had to be chosen and the first was a very tall guy who's name escapes me now as did the following 6 or 7 we hired and fired in a period of the next four or five months.

I wanted to hire a local black guy but not one turned up and in retrospect I should have realised they don't buy the Cape Times but hey my heart was in the right place. Just for the story I will call our first employee Mr Big. Mr Big arrived for the first trip with his long hair and beard to match looking as if he needed a long nights sleep, which was not giving me or the passengers any confidence for the following 24 hours of hard driving. All was going well until I woke in the middle of the night to find that he was driving in the middle of the road with one leg tucked under the other and his head resting on the head rest with his sunglasses on!!!! wide awake I might add but not what the passengers wanted to see, so he lasted two trips and became an ex Route 49 driver. The next was a coloured guy who used to be a Baz Bus Driver. A very good driver but rather light fingered when we were asleep.

Eventually we got a Zimbabwean driver called Rich who became an institution for our service who in the end took over the running of our Jo burg - Vic Falls run. We used to hear story's of how he would go out of his way to help the passengers in any way he could and I have to say one of the most trustworthy guy's I have ever employed in any business. Benny was another guy who was a legend in his own lifetime. he replaced Ruth and I in Vic Falls as our manager and did a splendid job drinking hard with all the tour operators to gain us plenty of extra bums on seats.

Then there was Yanik who looked like Jesus but was a hardened Afrikaner farmer just doing the job for a bit of extra cash. One day when we were moving to Vic Falls he took all our luggage in the trailer to unload and found all the staff of the house milling around under a tree.

Asking what was going on they shrieked that there was a spitting cobra in the tree just next to our bedroom. Yanik just strolled up to the tree collecting a large thin stick on his way and in one deft move whacked the snake out of the tree and in the same movement stabbed it in the head and casually asked where we wanted the luggage to go. He was Ruth's hero from there on and I have to say I liked him also.

The best of all the drivers of course was.....................ME


ExAfrica said...

You've failed to mention my Father - Papa ExAfrica. Though a short history he had as a driver, he did a fine job, only ocassionally forgetting which was the right side of the road to drive on. He really was a stand up guy - only butting in when the driver behind the wheel actually fell asleep.

He hit nary a goat nor donkey. And only once got out of the bus to take pictures of the elephants 10 meters off the side of the road. God love 'im.

Head of the Family said...

I was going to write about the Joburg run at a later date but now you have done it I will now write about Knickers!!

ExAfrica said...

Leave me out of that one!

ExAfrica said...

Leave me out of that one!