Monday, 15 February 2010
Not the story you're expecting today
I know you will all be looking here but I have to send you to the official words which are on our Group website for all the news: www.firstgroup.com/corporate/latest_news/?id=005071
Here's a different story - if you tie these end to end you will get my book without paying for it!
On 28th July 1981 there was a firework party in Hyde Park on the eve of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
We took one of our (Obsolete Fleet) open top former Midland Red D9s to Tyburn Way in the centre of Marble Arch and parked it there amongst all the other red buses. We had the most amazing grandstand view of the pre-wedding party and fireworks. Food and drink flowed, we made lots of new friends, and by the time anyone started to ask if we could be there at all the traffic had ground to a halt and there was nowhere to go.
But even better news followed. Stopped alongside us in Tyburn Way was a Routemaster from Norwood. When he had to restart his engine, it wouldn't, and the Police were frantic to move the obstruction.
One of our guests was a rather prominent London Transport engineer. With a broom handle he hit the flywheel ring gear and it fired up.
We sent an invoice - "Bus non-start, diagnosed jammed ring gear, freed off and started. Severe traffic congestion prevented normal recovery." I can't remember the amount - several hundred pounds I think. It certainly paid our wages, drink and food bill.
Ha - they sent a cheque! It came with a compliments slip from a senior London Transport Board member. I can't recall precisely the words but is said something like "I don't call using one of my own people to hit the flywheel with a broom handle a proper repair so you owe me one!"
Wonderful days - he knew that this was a small price to pay for what should have cost them a lot of money and delay and that our goodwill was retained for another time. In other words, in order to pull a rabbit out of a hat, you sometimes have to invest in a rabbit.
A good lesson for all our budding managers and directors, I think.
Here is OM6 at that very spot - happy memories! And tomorrow a nice story with animals in it !!