On a Friday in autumn I got the assignment to pick up two people at the five star hotel Europäischer Hof in Heidelberg the next day. Although the only information I had regarding my guests were their two last names, I called the reception desk and left my mobile phone number in case my passengers had any questions or needed any assistance prior to our 200 mile drive north of Heidelberg to the city of Göttingen.
Shortly after, I got a call and learned that one of my passengers was a famous writer from India who was on a reading and book-signing tour throughout Europe. Fortunately the host of the already sold-out event was a friend of mine who knew someone with a spare ticket, thus allowing me to attend the event.
I then quickly realized that being in a different city almost every day, giving interviews to the local press, reading parts of her book each evening, and then sitting at a table signing books and talking to her readers must be quite exhausting. Therefore, after I picked her up the next morning, I asked her if she would prefer a silent ride. She thankfully agreed and was obviously happy that I had asked.
Her young assistant from the German publishing house was the perfect “third person” on the car. Not only did he act as her assistant by helping her to operate the automatic back massage feature in the back-seat of my limousine but helped me as well by searching for a nice location in in the village of Alsfeld where we stopped for a second breakfast.
After safely arriving in Göttingen my guest surprised me. Usually one is eager to get out of a car after a three hour trip, especially if you are about to check in a nice hotel like the Romantik Hotel Gebhard. But the famous writer instead said: “It is so pleasant and comfortable in your car that I would prefer to just stay in it.”
Later she wrote about the ride
“I will never forget it. And you were the perfect driver.”