The Jaguar, a License, and Petty


The messenger is supposed to deliver an envelope and get a signature for it. There’s nothing else to do on the trip. It’s only going to a parking garage. Simple.

He gets there and hands over the envelope. A garage worker finds in it a letter saying to turn over a car to someone from All Boro Drivers. The messenger trip ticket says All Boro Couriers. The garage brings out a $40,000 Jaguar and tells the messenger he has to take it.

And he does. He weaves this very expensive (for the day) sports car through midtown Manhattan traffic from near 23rd Street to 59th Street without hitting a thing. He parks in a bus stop in front of the messenger office and shouts up to the third floor. We’re not expecting this. Can he drive it back? No, he tells us, because he doesn’t have a driver’s license.

I’m not in the office. I hear about this from a messenger customer who wants to know if the garage has a Lamborghini, because he’d have said bye-bye. (He’s joking.) I get to the office. Meanwhile, I can’t drive and we messengers are under a rule not to carry any package over 15 pounds. I tell a dispatcher, “I know about the 15-pound limit. If anyone gives me a car, I’ll call you.”

Someone named Petty, whose family features at least a couple of race car drivers, said that he drove between his home and the convenience store when he was eight years old, in the s, apparently many times. I guess the local cops knew his family. I doubt he crossed the town boundary or entered an Interstate highway.