Thursday, July 28, 2022

I hope this great guys story ends now.

Some journeys take you from A to B. Sometimes the journey takes longer and stays with you for years. This is such  journey.

From the Westbury hotel to the Guinness hop store. OK

He started telling me his tale straight away.

I was an orphan and I grew up in care of the nuns. Only when I was 10 years old was I adopted by a German couple who took me to America. You have no idea what it was like growing up without a mother and father who loved you, no one to hug you and kiss you goodnight.

So this couple took me to America and I grew up there.

They were German and taught me the German work ethic, with the gift of the gab from my Irish side I was sure to succeed.

I came back to the orphanage in Ireland to try to trace my parents, or to learn something about them

I said that that was a very bad mistake and he said.

When I saw the place again I fell to the ground my heart doing 900 beats to the minute.

My wife and daughter thought I was having a heart attack. Little by little I recovered and spoke to the nuns but they could not or would not help me.

He told me his story.

I worked at a few things and around 18 I teamed up with a carpenter, we worked on a few projects together. Then we bought an old house and renovated it. We bought another and worked on that as well.

In the states its called "Flipping houses" after we had done 12 or more we each bought a house and we went our separate ways.

I found my niche and now I fit out offices!

No it is not so simple to give the proper fit out in today's modern needs.

It turned out that his company covers most of America and Google and Facebook were his clients here in Dublin. 

No bullshit he was the real article.

I had no email or phone contact BUT now you can get access to your birth records

I really wish him well.

We have had the hardest time from the church. There is a plot of land where they have found the remains of 800 babies many thrown into a septic tank.

At Guinness I wished him well and he gave me €40 and told me to bring his wife and daughter back to the Westbury. At journeys end I tried to give his wife back the change.

"If thats what he gave you, then thats what you get"

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The madness will end

 Sorry I repeated myself again by mentioning Chuck Feeney a few times.

I am bringing my old car to a garage to have it serviced, there is a misfire in the engine, a new set of spark plugs should sort it out. Then in another week I am getting that car stripped, all the old advertising removed. 

Then there is a big job of selling it on.It is well worth while getting your taxi wrapped. People know that you are a taxi from far away and scratches are deflected by the vynal branding.

Never sell a car to someone you know. 

All the potential problems that one can bring you. 

I got the new car passed out now and now I need to have the meter sealed. 

In a day or 2 the new fares will be kicking in and my meter man can put in the new fares and I will be ready to go again I hope.

I brought my old car to a new garage for a simple oil change and to get him to look at a knocking sound in the engine.He rang me back with a list     ........A new back tyre...New wiper blades 4 new bulbs..

I went over and asked him if he was mad or if he would like to earn €100 by betting that all this is true.

He declined and I said that this is not the way to grow his business.

Oh well I will try someone I know to do the rest of the work.

Canadian Broadcasting corporation has a great series of clips on you tube about rogue garages one of the people is a qualified female mechanic.

One strange one came into all this.

We decided to transfer my wife's insurance to the old taxi, as my insurance company says that you can only insure one car at a time, great, cover for 2 weeks. Then when we went to extend it they found out that we were not insured with them at all !!!! We had left that company 2 years ago.Shock horror.

I was not insured at all.

So a little story of one of my eccentric customers.

He is in show business, very rich and lives in Monaco.

He had a meeting in London and went to his hotel to unload his bag.

The receptionist was on a private call, talking about the wedding etc.

He waited and then banged the bell a few times. 

Her reaction was to turn her back on him.

He reached over and cut off the phone. 

She exploded.

She sent for the manager.
The manager took the side of his receptionist.
Ok  Ok I will leave, but if I am charged for the room you will both suffer.

He was charged.

6 weeks later my good man walked back in with a few people behind him.

Do you remember me?

Oh yes of course we do, you are the rude man.
Well no. I am your ex boss. 
I now own the hotel.
Here are your resignation papers, you have 20 minutes to get out.

He turned the whole place around and had pop stars staying over plus a super chef who held gala dinners.
18 months later he sold it, and the profit was around 70% I have been informed 

I have been told that he has done that 5 other times.

Its a funny place Monaco. People hate to be there but hate to pay their taxes.

A sunny place for shady money


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Trouble with the regulator

 So I am waiting to have my new car passed out.

You or I would think that this would be a simple exercise, but it is not.

I filled out the forms and had the meter taken out of the old car and went to Northpoint at the time where I was told that I had no appointment. She checked the system and told me that I was wrong.

So I went home and made a phone call to be told that as I had not arrived that I have had my appointment cancelled and I would have to pay again??????????????????????????????? €195

Now for taxis the office us upstairs, I had all the stickers in my see through folder when I went into the NCT office downstairs. Perhaps the person downstairs should have asked me if it was a taxi? 

Then go upstairs sir.!!! 

I would let it all go but my youngest son wants to take the taxi over, so I can do that for him.

I remember the last time I changed over I had not taken the green stickers from the front and back windows, So I asked the new owner, but she had thrown them out, but found one in the bin.

When I went back to them they told me that they would print a new sticker and then (I kid you not) when it was printed they would destroy it and there was a charge of around €30.

There was a movie made years ago called falling down about a customer going berserk trying to deal with bullshit. I saw on my last visit a Chinese gent passing over his taxi for the NCT and they looked at his papers. Your insurance cert has expired, that is for the current year you need the new Cert.

He was stunned and he spent around 1/2 hour on the phone before going away. A new booking fee and a few weeks delay to follow. He showed me the new disc on the windshield, all fell on deaf ears.You or I or any reasonable person would test the car and then allow him to go home and bring the other cert back.

When the new cert checks out they could complete the transaction.

The Prius has a screen which covers luggage in the back of the car. 

The Taxi people would not pass out my Prius as it was not present in the car on the day of the test.

Would they let me bring it back in an hour?  No No pay again and come back.

Their theory is that in a crash the luggage could be launched into the air and kill the passenger.

Halfords sell a luggage net which works far better and is much more secure.

Here is advice that was given to me from a multi billionaire.

Live within your means and save a little bit.

If you earn €100 a week or a €1000 that is your limit.

When your spending goes out of control it spirals and you might never be able to get things back on track.

Don't get a credit card, they are handy. Provided that you can clear the debt at the end of the month. But never ever live your life in debt. In America you will see elderly people packing groceries at the supermarket check outs. They are working to pay off credit card debt and when they die the bank will take over their homes.Over here now the old reverse mortgages companies are rearing their head again. "Enjoy the equity of your home today" Then when you might need to go into a care home you have nothing behind you.

Remember your kids might need a bit of cash to pass on the grandchildren as well.

He said that if you read the paper and make investments for own future will pay far better than a life insurance policy. They take the profit and pass the losses back to you.

Spread the risk and you cannot go wrong.

On the hand he told me that if he was starting again he would be a taxi driver.

Look don't be negative, you can work when you want, you meet great people and it only takes one good idea to make millions. ( All this from a gay who turned out to be a Billionaire)
You know you have to put up with a lot of bad manners and I told him of an example.

You handled that badly. Stop the car and kick them out. Education is a great thing.

He was right, I did it 3 times after that. the second guy I threw out cried like a spoiled child and offered €100 on top of the taxi fair, Sorry sir education will cost you a lot more I said.

So on the bright side the Euromillions is €230 million on Tuesday next and when it clicks for me I will give Chuck Feeney a call. 

He is the man who gave away $ 8 billion. And yes I will tell no one

A simple idea he invented duty free shopping. 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

A huge jackpot

 Up and at it again.

A full 9 days with Covid.

I worked for a few days and now my old taxi is off the road while I prepare the new car for action.

My son is doing the taxi test and I will pass the taxi over to him when he qualifies. It is a hard test, so hard indeed that  a taxi driver who let his licence lapse went to do the test again. He failed it 8 times before giving up. Yes it is that hard.

One problem with flying overseas is your luggage. I had a lady from Toronto who lost her bag. No one in Air Canada or any of the baggage handlers wants to help her.

Welcome to the new reality. They just look through you she said.

This is why I will not travel for the foreseeable future.

Still the euromillions is €260 million, so I might go. Privately.

My hero when it comes to money is Chuck Feeney. He invented something very simple. 

Duty Free Shopping DFS. 

He decided that God did not give him the money to buy fancy houses or cars.

Secretly (until the day I met him) he used his entire wealth to help people around the world.

Mr. Obama brought out a law that you could not give away more that $2000 anonymously.

Mr.Feeny did not tell me, but I read in the paper the next day that he had used his entire fortune to help people to the tune of $8 Billion.

I wrote to him to tell him how wonderful his actions were and we stayed in touch for around 10 years. He promised me that he will guide me if I win the lottery.

There is a book about him called "The billionaire who wasn't" by Conor O'Cleary.

Look, you might think this is bullshit. But if you let someone know that you came into money your life will change for the worse. A guy that I worked with won £4.7 Punts and he had to go to live in America. 

I told him what a big mistake telling people was. But at that point it was too late.

By the way he was a really good person

Ok tell the family you won €6,000 and leave it at that.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Take time off now boss

 So I came home the other day and with a cough, nothing worse. In the morning I took a covid test and guess what? I have joined the club. Yes I am sure that I am Covid Positive...I am fine, just a cough and a bit of asthma.

I am changing my car and I need to have the meter changed over and do the many things that they ask you to do. While I was collecting forms at the NCT in Balllymun there was a Chinese lad standing to my left with a tester." No that insurance cert is out of date. Renew it and come back" He was shocked and it took him more than 20 minutes before he realized that it would cost him another €70 for a new appointment plus another day off work.

Any right thinking person would pass the car out and hold on to the paperwork till the lad came back.

These guys have no soul.

For myself they failed me for the luggage blind that goes on the back of the Prius. I would have had it in his hand in 20 mins. But no "Do not pass go and pay €70"

One hero was a neighbor of mine John who brought his mother in laws car in for testing. He worked at the airport and backed the car into the hanger, there he tested the emissions. All go with nothing to worry about.

But in the testing facility if failed on the emissions. When he asked that they test it on another machine he was told to fuck off.

But he worked at the airport and rang the head of compliance who asked to speak to the operator.

His attitude changed and the car was re tested and it passed.

They called in that evening and reviewed the footage of the CCTV cameras and proved that the equipment had not been calibrated for weeks. They were asked to bring back all the failed cars and re test them free and they were issued with a nice fine and the operator was requested not to be so cheeky next time.

John told me that he was very nervous going back but with a smile he said

"I guess there was no hard feelings"

Its nice when you can beat the bully.