Driving at LAX was never fun; it was crowded, congested, frustrating and obnoxious. People pulled away from the passenger drop-off curbs without waiting, without signaling and without looking even once for oncoming traffic. It was a maddening experience every time I had to go and unfortunately I had to go often; it was part of my job. I owned my own limousine company and that meant frequent trips to the airport. I had managed to score a number of high–profile clients that I shuttled back and forth as often as four days a week, sometimes even twice a day depending on how many jobs I had booked. So really, when it came to driving LAX, I was a pro.
That’s why I was shocked when the guy in the faded green sedan pulled away from the curb and plowed directly into my shiny, black limo. Fortunately I’d just dropped off my Beverly Hills client so it didn’t put my reputation at risk but trying to find a spot to pull over in the crazy traffic was a serious pain. When we finally managed to find a place I got out to check the damage. I looked down at my car before even glancing at his. There was a large dent on the panel above my front tire and a long streak of scratched and ruined paint to go with it. Though it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, it was still going to put my limo out of commission for at least a day. In my line of work, that meant I could be out a whole lot of money.
Of course by the look of the other guy’s car, he was going to be out a lot more. The front bumper, which he’d somehow caught on my wheel well, had almost completely ripped off. He’d also crunched the whole front left-side of his car and flattened his tire. He stood there staring at what was left of his sedan. I felt kind of bad for him, he was short, balding and by the run-down look of the rest of his car, didn’t have much money. It seemed that perhaps this little collision was going to hurt him more than it was going to hurt me. Suddenly the anger I’d been feeling began to fade.
“Where are you trying to go?” I asked as he continued to stare in silence at his totaled car.
“Santa Monica,” he replied without turning to me.
“I think you’re going to need a tow,” I stated.
He just nodded. After a moment he turned to check my limo.
“Sorry about this,” he finally said. “I just dropped off my kid. She’s going to college on the East Coast. Guess I was distracted.”
I shrugged. “I’ve got good insurance. You?”
We stared at his car for another moment.
“Want a ride home?” I finally asked. “Can’t beat a free ride in a limo.”
Seeing the look of guilt on his face, I shook my head before he could respond.
“It’s all good,” I told him. “Like I said, I’ve got good insurance.”
Though I couldn’t have predicted it, my trip to the airport that day did something more than just dent my car; it introduced me to a fellow passenger in life.