A Very Testing Drive

, , , , , , | | Legal | July 15, 2019

(As a “genius” for a luxury German car company, part of my job is to book and take people out on test drives. A man comes in with a foreign driving license, but as it is within 18 months of citizenship, it is technically valid under UK law at the time. I take all of his details and nothing flags on the system. The next day, the man comes in and it’s apparent that he doesn’t speak great English. He has a three-week old baby in a car seat and wants to take her on the test drive. I check with my manager; it’s not typical but we allow it and we get going. Part of the test drive is on the local motorway so that people can test the cars at a higher speed. Suddenly, the man takes off like a bat out of Hell. Even though we are test driving a sports car, we still have to obey the law. I inform the man that he has to slow down. At this point, he’s going 120 mph in a 70-mph zone.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir. You need to slow down.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “You’re breaking the law. If you cannot slow down to the speed limit, we’ll have to stop the car and I’ll drive us back to the dealership.”

Customer: “My car now.”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “This is my car now. No dealership.”

Me: “Sir, this is a test drive. We need to go back to the dealership and you need to slow down.”

Customer: “I signed papers. This is my car now.”

Me: “But you didn’t pay for the car. You need to take the next exit.”

Customer: “My car now.”

(I started to freak out. It was becoming fairly clear that I was being kidnapped whilst this man tried to steal a car during a test drive. I was in a car with someone that didn’t seem to speak my language well but also didn’t seem to care that he was going 120 mph with a fairly newborn baby in the back seat. I pressed the panic button to alert the police and waited as he sped down the motorway. Soon, there were blue and red lights, and a car chase followed. Luckily, the man pulled over very quickly. He tried to run away down the hard shoulder of the motorway, leaving his infant daughter behind. I don’t know if he honestly thought he’d bought the car, or even thought about why I was in the car with him. He was arrested and charged with kidnapping and endangering a minor, and for the attempted theft of the very expensive vehicle. I still don’t understand why someone would try to steal a car during a test drive, when we had all their details! Insane.)

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