A Day at the Office: My Day With Brian Sheely and the Lovely Ladies of Epic Limo, Part III
My eyes follow the path of an unraveled hose with a spray-nozzle attached to it. The hose winds around several feet before leading my eye to the middle of the hangar, where I notice an assortment of spray bottles. Each bottle is filled with a different cleaning solution; some clear, some blue, shop towels resting atop each plastic sprayer. Next to the collection of cleaners is a squeegee sitting in a yellow mop bucket filled with suds and a blue shop vacuum.
Just as I begin to examine a can of glass cleaner, Epic’s black Chrysler 300 stretch limo slowly pulls into the hangar. I move to the side so it can park in what is obviously the detailing area. The elongated car shuts off and the Lamborghini-style driver-side door opens. Out emerges Jason; ear buds in, ready to work.
“I have to wash four cars today,” he says as he begins to spray off the Chrysler. “If something is going out tonight or tomorrow, I’ll make sure it gets washed beforehand.”
He opens all four doors of the limo and rolls the shop vacuum near the rear driver-side door. He climbs inside with an aerosol can of glass cleaner and wipes down each window from the inside before vacuuming the interior.
Once he’s finished detailing the inside of the limo, he climbs out and proceeds to wash the exterior, scrubbing the vehicle’s extensive fenders with a soapy brush. He drags the brush across the roof of the car, maintaining the same scrubbing motion as he circles the limo.
Anne enters the hanger from a side door that leads to the Epic Limo office, looking for Brian to relay a message. “You didn’t tell me I was modeling today!” Jason shouts to Anne with a hint of sarcasm, alluding to me photographing him. She laughs. “I charge extra for modeling,” he says. He goes right back to work.
I realize that washing a fleet of limousines and busses can be a tedious endeavor. “The sedans are really easy,” says Jason. “The party busses take a little bit longer, particularly on the inside.”
Jason sprays the entire exterior of the limo with the hose, rinsing the suds down the drain of the massive airplane hangar. He then grabs another spray bottle and shop towel and squats near one of the front tires to polish the Chrysler’s chrome rims. After repeating this process three more times, he dries the limo with a fresh towel.
“That’s it,” he says, casually shrugging his shoulders. “Pretty much done.”
The whole process takes about 35 minutes. Although it’s not the cleanest of jobs, it’s evident that Jason enjoys the solitude. “I definitely listen to a lot of Audiobooks,” he says with a smile.
Keenly aware that Jason has a lot more work to do, I head back inside to see what Lisa and Anne are up to.
Before I even walk into the office, I hear Lisa’s music playing softly; “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, to be exact.
I have a seat at Lisa’s desk as she fills me in on what I missed. “We designed new business cards, took a few phone calls, made some calls to confirm bookings,” she says. “I had Chipotle for lunch and Anne attempted to heat her lunch up in the microwave, but it blew a fuse.” The ladies share a laugh.
She informs me of a “pop-up” call Anne received. I inquire about the meaning of the phrase.
“Literally, ‘I need to be at the airport by nine, can you pick me up?’” says Lisa. Essentially a spur-of-the-moment booking. My transportation industry vocabulary is growing by minute.
The phone rings. This time Lisa takes the call. “What’s the date we’re looking at?” she asks the caller. “Oh, 12-13-14! That’s a hot wedding date!” I hear the caller on the line ask another question. “We could definitely accommodate you,” Lisa cheerfully responds.
Anne and Lisa converse throughout the day, but when not answering phones, the ladies are typically clicking away at their respective computers, while tunes like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” play softly from Lisa’s PC speakers.
The phones continue to ring during the course of the afternoon and occasional issues arise. A chauffeur has yet to accept their assigned dispatch, which is at 7:30 the following morning. Another driver calls to inform Anne he’s hit some heavy traffic near Midway Airport. The ladies of Epic Limo Inc. are constantly faced with hiccups, yet they always seem to get everything straightened out.
“Anne and I work so well together,” Lisa says. “She’s awesome at dispatching, awesome at making sure the vehicles are stocked properly, whether it’s bottled water or Champagne.”
Around 4:30, Jason returns from the hangar. He has finished washing the fleet and preparing to leave for the day. He and the ladies briefly discuss his driving itinerary for the upcoming weekend.
“You’re picking up Ruth?” asks Lisa.
“Saturday,” Jason answers, walking toward Anne’s desk. “Can you put a note in there, for me?” After chatting with the ladies for a few minutes, he heads home.
Lisa and Anne are not far behind him. “I’m going to go eat pizza and watch football!” Lisa exclaims. It is Thursday night, after all. She closes her Toshiba laptop and shuts down her computer a little after 5:00 p.m.
“You think it’s alright to turn the phones over?” Anne asks Lisa. She is referring to transferring Epic Limo’s remaining phone calls over to Erin, now finished teaching for the day. Erin will field all the phone calls and emails until Lisa and Anne return to the office tomorrow morning.
Lisa packs up her things and makes her way towards the door. She does a quick inventory check before leaving. “Water, wine, Champagne, we’re all good,” she says. “We need Coke, but we’re good.” She walks out the the front door with Anne trailing closely. Symbolic of punching out for the day, Lisa locks the office door behind her.
It seemed to be a rather eventful afternoon at Epic Limo, but this is, literally, just a day at the office for Anne and Lisa. The lovely ladies of Epic Limo will do it all again tomorrow.
By Brett Halon