The driver/maid combo

Drivers in Dubai come with all kinds of wheels: And I don't mean regular drivers. I mean the paid kind who ferry kids back and forth. Pic credit: The National
Drivers in Dubai come with all kinds of wheels: And I don’t mean regular drivers. I mean the paid kind who ferry kids back and forth. Pic credit: The National

After much raucous excitement (go-karting, lasertag, pizza and ice cream x 15 kids), I let out a long, slow, deep breath – Son1’s birthday was OVER. Thank God! Everyone had gone home.

At least I thought they had … until DH piped up, “Oh wait, someone’s still here.”

A boy. Let’s call him H. He was inside the building, standing around quietly, waiting for someone to pick him up.

I told DH to head off with our two. H and I stood on the kerb outside, in the dark – the moon was full, the sky full of stars. We chatted – he was a nice kid, grown-up for his age. He was also getting worried about the fact no one had come for him. “I’m sure your mum will be here any minute,” I said kindly, stifling a yawn (end of the work/school week, blimin’ knackered).

“Can I use your phone?” he asked.

“Of course,” I said. “Do you know your mum’s number?”

He nodded, and I handed my mobile over.

A few seconds later, I heard a small voice – much more plaintiff than the polite tone he’d been using to chat with me. “Mummy!” he squeaked. A few more words were exchanged as he scuffed his foot against the pavement. “But there’s no-one here.”

When he got off the phone, I asked (and I’ll admit I was more than a little hopeful myself as I REALLY wanted to go home), “So is she coming?”

H shrugged. “My driver’s coming.”

Now, this in itself isn’t at all surprising in Dubai, but what did surprise me is we sat on the kerb for another 20+ minutes without so much as a message (or apology) from his parents, and when a car eventually screeched to a halt (a driver-maid combo), the darkened windows meant there was no eye contact. I walked round to make sure he was getting in the right vehicle, but they were clearly in a hurry. After a quick “sorreeee” and “goodbye”, the car door slammed and they were off in a puff of smoke.

I listened to the crunching of gravel as they veered across the car park, and thought, “Thank Gawd, now I can go home – half an hour late. Just in time to clear up all the shredded pieces of wrapping paper I’m sure will be strewn all over the floor by now.”

A little odd, I decided. Madam can’t have known her driver was running so late, or she would have texted. Wouldn’t she? Or am I too English and hung up on manners?

Either way, it takes all sorts to make Dubai go round, doesn’t it?

6 thoughts on “The driver/maid combo

  1. Nope, I don’t think you are being too English about it – it was dreadful bad manners not to apologise. We see this sort of thing happening increasingly here at the end of the school day. Some parents are regularly 15 – 20 minutes late collecting their child, but there is never a word of apology, or thanks – they just seem to think it is all part of the service. Grrrr.

  2. Shehaam Inglis says:

    I really think they should hire me as a nanny. Congratulations on your sons 1st and may God protect and shower him with many blessings Inshallah.
    From Shehaam
    South African Matured ,Experienced Nanny

  3. Speaking as a Canadian/American, I don’t think you’re being too English at all. I always hated it when pressed into unwilling service as babysitter at the end of an event. However, in the US at least, parents arriving late usually were abjectly apologetic. Surely having a driver doesn’t excuse you from common courtesy? Have you had dealings with this mummy before, and, if so, what’s she like in person? I’m intrigued….

    • I’ve never dealt with her before, so don’t know her at all. I got to know her son, however, while we were waiting, and he told me she was a lawyer (oh god, if she reads this, she might sue me – I might delete this comment after you’ve read it!!). He was a sweetheart – I couldn’t quite place their nationality. Yes, if it had been me, I’d have been so apologetic and red-faced!

      I meant to reply to a previous comment – if ever Doha looks like a possibility in your near future, do get in touch – I have several contacts there. The commenter above, A Girl And Her Passport, is a great Doha blog. I hope you’re still loving Bristol. Though I know it’s got to that cold, dark time of the year. Keep warm! It does pass, honestly! xx

Leave a Reply