Where the Party Never Stops

Four veteran rent-a-limo drivers tell all

Every year I say I'm getting closer to my retirement but I really have no idea what I would do. I tell my wife, if she'd get a better job, I'd be a stay-at-home dad. But I think she likes me making the dough. Besides, I don't know what I'd do with myself. People say, "You'd be good in sales." I sold houses and I made more money than I ever did driving limo. But I fucking hated it. I hated every minute of it.

I could just get a job as a greeter at a Wal-Mart, but this pays the bills. I'm pretty good at it. It's pretty easy to do. Why fuck with what seems to work?

Do you give lap dances?

K       im Pratt's first experience driving limo was as mellow as       they come: a family celebration for a Mexican girl on her Quinceañera—her 15th birthday. It was, Pratt recalls wistfully, a "sweet occasion"—an afternoon ride through south Minneapolis. First a church visit, then a reception. In the seven years since, Pratt has driven for three different party bus and limo companies. For the most part, the spectacles to which she has borne witness have not been nearly as sweet as her debut. Still, Pratt says she enjoys the work for its variety and flexibility. Brassy and easygoing, Pratt likes a good laugh. She gets plenty of them from her customers and fellow drivers. An international studies major at the University of St. Thomas, Pratt frequently brings school work on rides. While her customers are getting drunk at strip clubs, she sits in the limo and quietly pores over her required reading, dreaming of the day she can live in a foreign land.

I get a lot of interesting comments because I am a woman and there aren't a lot of women in this business. When I started, I refused to do bachelor parties. I was worried about safety issues. After I did a couple, I realized I could handle it. I always tell the guys, "Look, I've been in the business for six years. Be yourselves and have a good time." As the liquor goes down, I'll usually get some comments. I'll take guys to KOD [the King of Diamonds strip club] and pretty soon they'll say things like, "Hey Kim, why don't we just pay you? Do you give lap dances?" I do carry mace. I've never had to use it, but I can turn pretty stern if I notice that things are getting out of hand. I'll cut the power off to the back of the limousine and say, "Knock it off or we're done."

You never know who you're picking up. One time, I picked up this group in Woodbury—two married couples and a couple who were out on their first date. I drove them in a 10-seater to a concert at the Target Center. Peter Frampton, I think. Anyway, they seemed like your average kind of people, nothing out of the ordinary. It seemed like they were just out to have a good time and a few beers. But by the time they got out of the concert, they were all really, really lit. I don't know what they were doing, but they're baked. So we're going down the road. Next thing I know, the shirts are coming off and the girls are hanging their boobs out the windows. I remember there were girls kissing girls and then, all of a sudden, the girl on the first date was messing around with one of the husbands. Apparently she was sucking on his toes. Next thing, I hear the wife say something really nasty to the single girl. By the time I got them out of the car, everybody was really pissed off at each other. I tell you, I really thought the wives were going to beat up on the single girl.

I usually let the passengers decide whether the partition is up or down. If I start to feel uncomfortable, I put it up. I worked for this one company that had party buses, and there was no divider between me and the customers. A lot of times when I did these bachelor parties, I'd have guys trying to kiss me when I was driving. I had one guy get down on his hands and knees and he's trying to lick my ear lobes. I'm like, "Knock it off!" I try to be nice about it—nice but firm. If they don't get it, then I get angry.

I once picked this guy up in St. Paul and took him to a bar in Cottage Grove. It was his 21st birthday and he'd been partying all day with his friends. About 8:30, he tried to leave the bar with a drink in his hand, so the bouncer tried to stop him. Apparently, when the bouncer grabbed his drink, the guy just turned around and punched him. You know, he didn't realize it was a bouncer. When the rest of the guys got back in the bus, I said, "Hey, where's the birthday boy?" They're like, "He's in jail." And the party just kept rolling.

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