24 HoursWhat a ride!
I was leaving Las Vegas on a blazing August day at noon. Stopped at a red light on N. Las Vegas Blvd., I took a moment to check out the cars around me. The woman on my left was applying lipstick as she watched herself in her visor mirror. A gentleman to my right faced ahead, posing a concerned stare out of his windshield. Windows were up on every vehicle I could see, the passengers’ hair moving slightly from the force of the automobiles air-conditioned breezes.
It had felt over 110 degrees outside as I had walked the short distance from the valet stand to the car just a few minutes before. It was a hot one, reminding me that Sin City was built in the harsh, Nevada desert.
As the light turned green and traffic was moving again, the casino resorts appeared to shrink as I watched in my mirror. Soon I was on the freeway, heading home to Los Angeles.
Had I really been gone just one day? As tired as I was, I did a mental check. Yes, today’s Thursday and it was Wednesday that I had left work for Vegas.
Wednesday had started like any normal day at work. Everything had seemed the same, until lunchtime.
My boss found me in the building’s café with my friends.
“This is important,” he said. “And I am hoping you’ll say you can do it.”
“There’s a client who means a lot to our company. She called a few moments ago from her hotel after realizing she had mistakenly taken something that didn’t belong to her after our breakfast meeting today,” he told me.
“This is hers,” he said as he held up what looked like his briefcase.
“She walked off with mine,” he added.
I tried not to burst out laughing.
“I’m busy with appointments all afternoon. If you could, she and I, would appreciate you helping us out,” he told me.
“Of course I will,” I said while holding back my laughter.
“Your expenses will be covered. The company car is waiting for you out front with a full tank of gas,” he said as he handed me, car keys and the briefcase.
My boss walked me to the car with a brisk pace.
“Why all the fuss? Where is this client’s hotel?” I asked.
“In Las Vegas,” he said with a grin.
The client had flown to Vegas after their morning meeting, my boss explained. And in her hotel room she discovered she had the wrong case. She needed her briefcase today, and I was to leave immediately.
My boss opened the car door as he told me there was a room waiting at the MGM Grand in my name.
“Oh, and this is for you. Spend this however you like. Consider it an unofficial bonus,” he said through a smile as he handed me an envelope.
“Drive carefully, but hurry,” he said as he closed the car door.
That’s how it happened. I was on the road seconds after a leisurely lunch with some pals.
I made the usual four-hour drive to Vegas in a record-breaking 3 hours and 10 minutes, without a speeding ticket. The first thing I did, of course, was return the briefcase to a very grateful woman, and retrieve the one she had mistakenly taken. After checking into my room, I remembered the envelope.
Two grand, my “unofficial bonus” was two thousand dollars! I gambled until nearly 4 a.m., and caught some sleep before getting on the road again.
As I drove home I thought about the night. I’d doubled my money at the tables and hit three sevens on the dollar slots.
“Spend this however you like,” I remembered my boss saying. And I did. I liked that very much.