Paula’s Aunt & Uncle with Michelle at the Kona Surf Hotel Bar
American Express Platinum Card
I wrote about Paula’s Aunt & Uncle coming to visit us in Hawaii in my last post. They actually came because her uncle was Paula’s Dad’s brother and they really came to see him. They finally stopped because they couldn’t stand Paula’s Mom. Her Uncle was some high executive that worked for a large national electrical company in England. He was tasked with selling large power generating plants to a lot of the Arab Countries in the middle east. He once told us that they have so much cheap gasoline there that when they fill up their autos they spill gallons on the ground and think nothing of it. So they were pretty well off and lived in a large apartment in London not far from Piccadilly Circus. Her Uncle liked to drink and that did not sit well with Paula’s Mom who preferred prescription drugs herself.
One time when they came (This was in 1979 that I wrote about on my blog yesterday) they brought their son and his wife and their daughter. I gave her Uncle a motorcycle ride because I knew that when her Uncle and her Dad were young men in Pakistan, they used to ride small motorcycles and he probably never rode anything like the “Pocket Rocket” that I had access to. This is that story: While we were in Hawaii a young guy named Rusty bought a new Yamaha 650– Very Fast bike, and he rented a room from us in 1979 — then he decided to go home to AZ where he was from. He had financed the bike at the Credit Union and when he left he just parked the bike at the Credit Union parking lot and took off. I took him to the airport so I knew about the bike being parked there with the keys in it. So when I came back from the airport I stopped by and picked up the bike and rode it home. Paula took me back to get my taxi and I rode that motorcycle almost a year until the tags had expired several months then I just parked it back at the Credit Union parking lot. Wheeee! He returned a couple of years later and I didn’t say anything to him about the bike but he probably would had a good laugh about it.
So from where my house was, I could go on to this highway that had 2 lanes going up this long straight hill (maybe a mile) and 1 lane coming down. I used to go full throttle thru the gears and top out at 160 mph at the top of the hill. Then just in case someone called the cops, right at the top of this hill there was a back road that went straight back to my house that I would take home. Well I took Paula’s Uncle up that hill and didn’t realize that I could have given him a heart attack. When we returned he was all smiles and told his son “Billy you’ve gotta get a ride on this” so I took him too but he didn’t like it at all –too scared.
During this visit he said that he told his son Billy, who was just starting out in his career working at the nuclear power plant in Wales, that he had to get an American Express Card. Well I thought that was good advice and so I applied for an American Express Card and got the Green one. It was a personal card and I used it wisely. The Taxi business was doing great and they soon sent me an application for a Gold American Express Card. That was approved in short order and I was feeling pretty great about my credit worthiness. I also got the Green American Express Corporate Card for Paradise Taxi Company and the drivers could have their own card under our company name. That was quite a perk for some of them. With the American Express Card you don’t carry a balance, you paid in full what ever you put on the card the previous month. That’s the way it worked back then anyway. So for a few years I was happy as a pig in mud with my Gold American Express card. Until these 2 women came in from New York and started using our cabs a lot. They were staying at a Condo and some time later the one woman left and the other stayed because she had found a new boy toy in a local Hawaiian young man. One day she invited Paula and me to join them at the French Restaurant for dinner on her. We of course went. We had never been to the French Restaurant because we knew the prices were Sky High even for Hawaii. It was a small restaurant only about 8 tables and run by a married couple. He was the chef and she was the server. The meal wasn’t so extraordinary but it was Expensive– and she orders a $300 bottle of Champagne! Tasted like Champagne to me! When the $900 bill came she broke out her American Express Card to pay and even in that dim lighting I could see it wasn’t Gold, it was silver colored and I later learned it was called the Platinum Card. Well I wanted that one and I found out how to apply for it and I got it! Now you’re talking about a pig in fine imported mud!!! I used that card a lot until we moved back home to Arkansas and really had no need for it any more– But I loved to see the faces of people when you broke it out on them!!