My biggest gaffe: Letting a junior staff member take the driving seat

Paul Lucas, director of Fever PR, recalls giving one of his younger members of staff free rein to drive a client's promotional sports car

(Credit: McLaren Automotive)
(Credit: McLaren Automotive)

I once had the enviable position of being in charge of a sports car firm’s loan stock that was sent for media reviews, product placement and the like. On occasion this meant that we got to ferry them back to the dealer. Nice work if you can get it.

One night, we got a late call from the client. A particularly flashy car needed collecting. I cancelled my plans and headed for the door only to be stopped by a young agency petrolhead. He said he would be happy to take on the "burden", as he put it.

He worked on the account, had a clean driving licence and was insured. What could go wrong?

Fast-forward to the morning and we got a call from the dealership. "You dropping the car today?"

"Erm nope, we dropped it with you last night," I said. "Well, it’s not here," they said. 

A private chat with the young petrolhead revealed that on finding the dealership closed for the night, he had enterprisingly arranged to leave it in the pub car park opposite, letting the landlord know by barking across a crowded bar that he would be posting the keys through the dealership letterbox. He may as well have taken out an advert in the local paper telling people how to get a free sports car.

After a day of sweating over whether I had just bankrupted the agency, the car was found, not a scratch on it, complete with keys in the ignition. Some geezer in the pub had moved it a few streets away – as a joke, no doubt. What a laugh. 

Paul Lucas is director of Fever PR

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