I went to see a franchisee last week in the West Country.
This meant I had to get up first thing in the middle of the night to get my flight from Edinburgh to Bristol, but at least my flight home was at a decent time – 16.40 to be precise. Even though this was EasyJet, what could possibly go wrong?
Ah, I’m glad you asked, because quite a lot actually.
Anyway, the first half of the day went without a hitch. My colleague kindly picked me up from the airport at about 9.30 and drove me the 25 miles or so to his office.
We had a jolly good conversation about his business, his strengths and weaknesses and where he was to go next. He was one of those guys who was quietly competent, but knows he can do better and really values help when it comes along.
In fact, he’s a pretty perfect franchisee. He follows the plan, doesn’t try to change things and listens to the advice he’s given. Admittedly, he then makes his own mind up about whether to follow the advice, but that just makes the advice giver more determined to ensure the advice is good… if you see what I mean.
Be that as it may, I’m still surprised that I didn’t say anything when I thought I saw his fuel gauge flashing at zero when he picked me up from the airport.
I guess it was a combination of being too polite, not really being sure and, I suppose, not wishing to say ‘Oi, you need to fill your car up mate!’
But, oh, how I wish I had.
We were running a bit late to get to the airport anyway, but nothing we couldn’t cope with, when suddenly my friend looked over to me and said ‘Something’s wrong.’
He wasn’t! Wrong that it is because we stopped on the side of the road about 2 seconds later… out of fuel.
‘But I filled it up this morning,’ said he, somewhat perplexed. We popped the bonnet and both stood staring at the engine bay, pretending that we knew something about what we were looking at, which we didn’t. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we had broken down.
As it turned out, though, we hadn’t. This is what had happened. Someone had come along with a cordless drill, put a couple of holes in his petrol tank, drained the fuel into a jerry can and fu… well, let’s just say they left us high and dry.
I’m not quite sure what the moral of the story is, but I do know I missed my flight and got home at 11.00pm instead of 6.00pm!