Monday, July 04, 2011

Harry's Final Warning


So there we were on a coach, speeding down a ten-lane highway from Miami Airport to our overnight hotel in Fort Lauderdale. We were all fascinated by the coach-driver who seemed to just about manage to steer the coach, conduct a heated debate with several other parties over a walkie-talkie radio, and wrestle with a severe astigmatism all at the same time. This, I was thinking, was yet another example of the positive benefits of experience - he must have been nearer 80 than 70 - when the coach caught fire. His first reaction was to ignore this event. At the time we put this down to a John Wayne like American bravado, but later we realised that his cataracts prevented him seeing the dense smoke wafting through the coach. Eventually, in a rather British way, someone said "Excuse me, don't you think you should stop the coach"

Stop it he did and we all clambered out whilst the driver and a passing break-down truck driver attempted to tackle the blaze with fire extinguishers. Unfortunately it was the brakes that had caught fire and therefore, even once the fire had been put out, we were going nowhere. At this point the driver became suddenly concerned for our welfare and ordered us to move well away from the coach. Most did : my good friend Harry was far more reluctant to do so. All our luggage and belongings were on that coach and Harry is a retired police sergeant - there was no way he was going to abandon the scene. As the driver became more and more insistent that Harry moved away, the more Harry (an ex- guardsman as well as an ex-cop) stayed rooted to the spot. Eventually the driver proclaimed "this is your final warning if you don't move I will ...." At this point he realised that his intended threat - "if you don't move I will make you get off the bus" - had somehow lost its efficacy. Harry stayed on guard until a replacement coach arrived.

Within a couple of hours we were sat in a magnificent hotel bar, drinking beer and eating delicious American burgers and fries, and laughing over Harry's final warning.

16 comments:

  1. Something else to 'put down to experience'. As it was in the US, did anyone sue for 'spoiling my holiday experience'!

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  2. Did you call him Dirty Harry after that?

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  3. Haha . . well all's well that ends well I guess what a way to start the trip.

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  4. Ooh. Rather ominous title, there. I was afraid that this "Harry" person wasn't going to live to see the end of the post. Glad all ended well... relatively speaking.

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  5. When I stop laughing, I promise to show concern. I suppose I shouldn't find a tourist bus on fire cause for hilarity, but I must say, your telling of it was good reading. Tell us more....

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  6. Oh, dear. Only in America.

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  7. This read like an episode, straight out of a Bill Bryson book. Glad all ended well.

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  8. You probably had a tour bus coach but this sounds more like something that could happen on a Greyhound. So glad all turned out well.

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  9. Harry is but one kind of the many crazy drivers found here. Glad this ended well for you.

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  10. Ah, bus travel; there's nothing like it! I used to use buses for long distance travel all the time, and oy! could I tell you some stories. Now I use the train because it's cheaper, faster, and more convenient; unfortunately the stories aren't as good.

    If this is the first episode of your vacation narrative, I can't wait to hear the rest.

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  11. Glad you could see the funny side! As Martin says, it sounds like Bill Bryson - in reverse.

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  12. Your experience sounds scarier then mine on my way to Pictou, NS last Thursday. My daughter and I came upon a man lying in the ditch. We thought he was dead, my daugher tried to rouse him several time, we flagged down some cars, by then, he was sitting up and talking to us, we called the paramedics and they were on their way when we left him with a handful of people. Seems like he had had too much sun the day before, and Thursday was 32 degrees....

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  13. I had a car catch fire once. Not a pleasant experience. You don't really expect it of a vehicle while you are travelling. Glad everyone was OK.

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  14. well, as long as there are burgers and fries with a few brews at the end, i guess it's all fine!!
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  15. Hopefully you were driving onward without Harry!

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