The Shuttle That Drives Itself

December 02, 2015

The shuttle was scheduled for 4:45am, but the driver showed up at 4am. I watched the driver pull the van up to the front door, and then he walked into the building where he decided to go into an empty room to watch television while he waited.

At 4:40 a couple in their 40’s came to the desk, and handed me their keys. I offered them fresh coffee and some food. “No thank you.” Said the gentleman. “We will just wait for the driver, and leave. Do you need to call for him?”

I saw an opportunity to have some fun. “We don’t have an actual driver anymore.” I told him. The two of them looked very confused. “What do you mean? We scheduled this days ago. I can see the van right outside.” Said the now very confused man, who was pointing right at the clearly visible van. “How are we supposed to get to the airport?” Said his even more confused wife.

“You still take the shuttle, but we don’t need the driver anymore.” I said as if this was not supposed to be a big deal. “Who is going to drive?” Asked the woman. I gave her a genuine smile. “We just started using the new Google driving technology that they have for their driver-free Google cars.”

The couple exchanged very confused looks. The gentleman, then glared at the van when he spoke. “I don’t understand how this works.” He said. I smiled back and explained it to him. “You simply just sit in the van, and it will drive you right to the airport, and drop you off right where you need to check-in.” I said. “What about people who need a ride from the airport to the hotel?” The lady sincerely asked. “It’s simple.” I explained. “We just type in on the computer what time to be at the airport, and which flight the guest is on, and it pulls right up where the guest is waiting, and then drives them here. Now we can have a running shuttle 24 hours a day without having to worry about who is available to drive.”

The couple gave each other more concerned glances, and the woman tugged on her husbands shirt. “Maybe we should call a cab, Teddy.” She said. I tried to assure them that the ride will be smooth. “It’s okay ma’am. There is nothing to be worried about. The shuttle had one incident, and it was the other guys fault.” I said, grinning. “I don’t want to risk an accident, Teddy.” The woman said to her husband. He was trying to get his head around this whole idea. “So we just sit in the van? Do we have to push a button or anything?” He asked. “No, but I recommend one of you sit in the drivers seat. You know, just in case.” I said, along with a chuckle.

It was at that moment that the driver made another appearance. “Are you my passengers?” He asked the couple. They gave each other another quick glance of confusion, and then turn those looks in my direction. “Just kidding! We have a real driver.” I said with an eruption of laughter. The woman walked up to me while pointing her finger in my face. “If we were younger, I would have my husband kick your ass.” She said, then she also erupted with laughter, followed by her husband. “Boy, you sure had us going, guy.” The man said. The only person who wasn’t laughing was the shuttle driver, but he never finds anything funny.


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