Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Round & Round With A Limo Company

Sometimes celebrities would come to town and not want limo service. They would prefer a van so that they wouldn't get run over by fans, or could fit their luggage, guitars, clubs in the vehicle with them.

One such limo company would "farm out" his celebrity pickups to E&M Tours. We had two special vans that we would use for just such a pick up, they were 13 passenger vans, but they had an aisle with nice seats on either side then a bench seat in back. We also had T.V.'s in them, they were smooth and quiet riding. Big stuff for the 80s!

We had two woman employed by the company, one a driver and me as the airport dispatcher, neither were supposed to be near those vans when there was a celebrity pick up. My dispatcher didn't like that too well and on occasion neither did the owner.

Normally my radio and PAX List (Arriving passenger sheet) were dropped off at the airport by one of the drivers at around 1100AM. On this day, someone called me (I believe it was Kingsly our dispatcher and not the owner) and asked me to come to the house and ride in with the van. I was a little confused, he then explained to me that this way on my last pickup I would ride back in with the last pick up (a limo account) to their hotel and then back to the house. I was always up for causing a little trouble and I was all for this one, I don't like discrimination.

When I arrived at the house where our vans are kept and ask who are we picking up? I'm told we're picking up the band RATT and I'm to ride in the van with them. Make up any excuse needed when the limo company owner asks why I am there.

Just as planned the owner shows up with the band, smiles his smile and all is fine until I get in the front passenger seat. The owner was a houli like me, (that's Hawaiian for white), but blond as the day was long. His smile turned to a teeth gritting grin thing, and his face beet red when I climbed in with the driver. He asked what are you doing? I remember telling him that the band was the last scheduled pick up of the day and I was headed back for the yard, this was my ride, oh yeah, have a great night!

The band was really nice. We talked on the 15 minute ride to Waikiki. They never knew what had just transpired at the airport, but they had no problem with me riding in the van with them. I helped the driver unload the luggage and back to the yard we went. No harm, no foul. RATT was really cool.

As far as the band knew, my car was at the yard and I needed to go home. Every time I hear this song I think of that day so many years ago.

Round And Round~RATT

The limo company owner got over his anger that day. We didn't lose the account, we later picked up someone else in much the same way. This time though, I didn't ride in as it was a 3 day charter. That was a great 3 days for our driver. There is a story behind that one too.

photo courtsey of deviantArt.com

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Day I Met The Piano Man

Climb aboard my time machine with me, take a walk with me through some of my fonder memories..

It had to have been 1983, I was still living with my dad at Hickam A.F.B. and I bet meeting the Piano Man and his girl were the first celebrities I met in the 5 years I worked at the Honolulu Airport.

I was meeting a "inter island" flight at the inter island terminal, Hawaiian Airlines if I'm not mistaken. There were no jetways there, you came down the stairs of the 737, walked across the tarmac to the baggage claim, which was open air. There was a wall with a doorways and gates so one could not access the tarmac without permission, the rest of the baggage claim could be accessed by anyone.

The passengers began to come through the doorway as I stood there with my sign, my dispatcher from E&M Tours was also there with me. As I watch the passengers walk by I see a beautiful blond woman walk towards me with a bright smile, and a golden glow. The glow almost reminds me of an aura. The man she is with is shorter then her, wearing dark sunglasses, and has dark hair.

As they walk past me, it hits me who they are. I stare in amazement, more like gawk. I then look at my dispatcher who seems to be in another world, I asked him if he'd seen who just walked by him. He said who?

I was stunned. I remember telling him "the most beautiful woman in the world just walked by you and you didn't even see her!", he just smiled.

Yes, Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley had just passed by me and it seemed that no one had noticed but me.

I collected my passengers, we got their luggage and put them on the transportation to their hotel. I then walked over to Billy and Christie who were chatting with their limo driver and summoned up the courage to ask for their autographs.

Christie smiled that beautiful wholesome smile, she took my pen and paper and signed her name for me, then handed it to Billy, who I could tell was very shy. He kept his dark glasses on, his head tilted, almost as he was nervous about looking me in the eye. He was not rude though, he was very polite, almost child like. It was an amazing moment in time for me. There was only one other couple I met during the 80s who impressed me more. I will tell you about them soon.

I'm glad Billy and Christie are still friends today. They seemed like genuinely good people that day 25 yrs ago. They still bring a smile to my face to this day, that is a true fact.

photo courtsey of deviantArt.com

Interview With Mickey Jones

When Mickey was in town for our Bikes and Blues event back in April he along with Reuben the "Lounge Lizard" did a radio interview with Shannon Burke. Reuben put the interview on youtube with photos from Mickey and Mickey's book, "That Would Be Me".

Reuben and Mickey also sing Double Bogie Blues and there are some of my pictures on the video I took of them singing this song at the WHOG Studios a year ago.

Thanks Reuben!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Coming Out Of The Fog!

Have you ever been in that awkward moment when the conversation lags and you or the person you've been speaking with have nothing else to say? Sure you have!

In times like these I go back to my memories of the 80s and working at the Honolulu Airport. Most of these times were fun and I got to meet some pretty cool people. Steve says I name drop, but he says it with a smile. To me it was a way of keeping a conversation going. Its memories of good times and some neat people I happened across during my day to day life.

In order to get out of my BLOG FOG I've decided to tell you a bit about my life in the 80s working at the airport in Honolulu. I wanted to go happy with this series, I hope you can feel my smile as you read on.

My Airport History:

I began working at the airport as a Lei Greeter for a company called Aloha Lei Greeters in 1983. No, I wasn't wearing a grass skirt and bikini top, that was for the models that posed for pictures.

I wore a long muumuu with slits on the sides, one was sky blue and white and the other was a dark red and black pattern. We had one major account, Tradewind Tours and several smaller or private accounts. My job was to hold up a sign at the gate of the airline with the passengers name (or tour group name) and meet them with a lei and kiss.

If the passenger was on a tour, I would take them to the models for photos, then to the baggage claim and finally make sure they got on their transportation to their final destination, (hotel or outer island).

At one point I began meeting the 1st flight of the day arriving from Alaska at either 4:55AM or 5:55AM depending on the time of year, then move on to the customs area and meet the flights from Japan, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. (I had Japanese group escorts who would actually meet the passengers then bring them to me for their leis). I would finish my day at noon so I took a 2nd job as a dispatcher for E&M Tours, a transportation company that would take passengers back and forth from the airport to their hotels.

Tiring of working strictly at the airport I took a job at Waikiki Express driving the passengers myself. I loved that! I was one of two girls driving for the company, the other one mainly dispatched and I had the respect of all of the men there. At night one of them always waited for me at the station where we parked our vans if I was running behind. We usually went out after for a bit of fun until I made the fatal mistake of dating one of the other drivers. I was making good money then, tips plus a good hourly wage and threw it away for a man who couldn't take that a woman who could drive as well and toss luggage as high as he could.

I gave renting cars a try for a bit.. but they wanted me to push the coverage. I believed in it and still do to this day, but got let go because I wouldn't push it. I went back to the airport...

I went to work for a porter company, Paradise Sky Cap, under contract for United Airlines who took care of their wheelchair bound and unaccompanied minor passengers. That was pretty cool for a bit, but the pay was really low and tips hard to come and I soon found myself back at Aloha Lei Greeters as Asst. Manager.

Now, to remember the who's and whens, and will I be able to find pictures that I am allowed to use?

photo courtsey of deviantArt.com