The Time I Took A $400,000 Bentley To The Bus Station
|Taking the Bentley to the Bus Station|
When somebody offers to let you stay in their penthouse at the St. Regis in New York City, say yes. Don’t worry about work or transportation. Quit if you have to and walk if you must, but by all means, say yes. And when the bellhop rolls up in a $400,000 Bentley to take you to the bus station? Say yes again.
Here’s how it happened. I was living in Washington, DC, a few years ago, and my aunt and uncle invited my mother and me to spend a few days with them at the St. Regis in New York. My mother flew up from her home in Phoenix, and I took the bus up from DC.
Some people say that staying the St. Regis is like staying at a palace. This is not true and those people are stupid. It’s much nicer than a palace. To be fair, it’s like a palace in two ways: 1) the butlers, and 2) Elton John routinely stays there. I didn’t see him, but you bet I looked.
As nice as the hotel was, what I remember most about staying there was spending time with my family. While running to catch a Broadway play, we almost ran over George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones. He was coming out of a pizza shop, carrying a few boxes of slices, and we practically stumbled over him. That wasn’t even the strange part - he walked right into the street and miraculously between the screeching cars. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, and sometimes I guess the only way to walk it is to walk among the traffic.
I took my mom to see Wicked. If you haven’t seen it, you should. If you don’t know what it is, you probably think the St. Regis is a palace. We had great seats, close enough that we could see the actors’ facial expressions and intricate costume details. Of course, this means sometimes you also get to see their spittle flying toward you, but on the whole, it’s worth it. You’ve never really experienced Broadway until you’ve dodged the Wicked Witch’s spit.
We had dinner at one of Oprah’s favorite restaurants. I’m a big fan of Oprah, so I told the waiter, “I’ll have what Oprah has,” which resulted in a blank stare. He either didn’t think it was funny or simply didn’t know what Oprah usually has. Poor guy.
Eventually we had to leave. My mom and I were taking the bus back to DC. The buses are clean, efficient, make no stops, cost $35 round trip, and drop you off just a few blocks from my house. They’re a steal! But still, they are buses, and you have to go to the bus station, which lacks both the panache of taking the train into Grand Central Station or a red-eye into JFK. But in this case, we weren’t even going to the actual bus terminal building in New York, just a parking space on the side of a road.
As we left the hotel, a cab pulled up to the St. Regis taxi stand and asked us where we were headed. “The bus stop,” we said. “Nope,” he replied, and drove away. My mom and I laughed, but the bellhop was really pretty upset, and told us to wait a minute and he’d have their car take us.
Two minutes later, a world-class, one-of-a-kind, specially-made Bentley pulled up, and the driver put our bags in the trunk, opened the doors for us and got in. “Where to,” he asked. “The bus station,” I said proudly with a grin. He looked at me through the rear-view mirror to see if I was serious. “I bet you’ve never, ever taken this car to the bus station, have you?” I asked. We all started laughing, “Nope, he said. Never. Helicopter pads. Private airports, yachts, but never the bus station!”
The bus station was only about eight blocks away, and as luck would have it, traffic was backed up and we spent about half an hour in that wheeled money-box. It was opulent, extravagant and fantastic, with detailed inlaid woodwork and hand-stitched leather upholstery. It rode on silk rails and somehow blocked out all the noise of the busy New York Streets – every angry honk and siren. The driver said it cost more than $400,000. My mom and I took it to the bus station.
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