My first job when I came to this then great country was driving a horse and carriage around Central Park…at night!
This was back in the bad old days of New York City. Pre-Giuliani. Pre-law and order. Pre-civilization. It was pretty bad, I must say.
One night one of my rides wanted to go to THE TAVERN ON THE GREEN restaurant in Central Park. So I dropped them off and decided to hang for a while there.
I got off my carriage and tied up my horse next to a large white limousine. The limo driver was standing next to his car.
I started chatting to my fellow carriage drivers.
My horse started backing up nervously close to the limo.
The limo driver started shouting at me. He thought my horse would damage his car. I had tied my horse up so he couldn’t possibly reach the limo. But the driver couldn’t know that.
I was dismissive in the extreme! I may have even used an expletive or two. Hey, it was New York!
The driver didn’t like that. And he was getting rather aggressive. But what the hell! He was just a limo driver!
There was traditionally bad blood between limo drivers and carriage drivers. We fought for the same tourist dollar.
All of a sudden one of the other carriage drivers came scurrying over and whispered to me.
“Don’t f**k with him! He’s not a limo driver, he’s John Gotti’s driver! That’s f**king John Gotti’s car!”
John Gotti, cappo di tutti cappi, boss of all bosses in the New York mafia was dining at the Tavern On The Green that night.
SFX: RADICAL CHANGE OF ATTITUDE!
Me: “I’m so sorry sir! Let me just move my horse safely away from your car sir!”
I knew what to do.
Don’t fuck with them.