A True Moving Story.
With the visit of Prince Charles to Washington DC this week, I thought I would share my little Royal Story!
Years ago when I was the sales and marketing manager for an international moving company in Saudi Arabia, I thought it would be a good idea to exhibit and get involved with Saudi British week. It was the first of its kind and was obviously introduced to promote British companies in Saudi Arabia and involved Prince Charles and Lady Diana coming to town. Well the company I worked for was American but I was British and we had a lot of British customers so in the words of Mohamed our local partner “mafi mushkila” (meaning no problem) so off I went and organized everything. The royal yacht Britannia arrived at Jeddah port and a bunch of us local Brits collected Royal Navy sailors from the ship and showed them around the city. Showing sailors a “good time” would have been a bit of an over statement as we were in Saudi but all in all we had a laugh and shared some good stories that can’t be repeated here!
The main event though was the exhibition of Saudi British business held at the convention center. We had what I thought was a good exhibit showing various things being packed and ready to be moved overseas and we were ready for the first day of the show which was the VIP and press day and as far as I knew was being headlined by the Royal couple.
About an hour before opening the booth opposite which was Rank Xerox and about as British as we were, was visited by British security personnel and informed of the imminent arrival of the prince at their booth and were instructed of how to address the prince.
Bloody typical I thought, jealous? Well yes I was as I really wanted to meet Princess Dianna.
So opposite our booth the smart suited grinning smarmy Xerox boys were warned by security 5 minutes before the VIP arrival so they got all their fancy machines swooshing and whirring and paper flying everywhere and we waited……….and waited. About 30 minutes later the Saudi secret police walked up to our booth and who was the person they were guarding?
Local resident in exile the ex-Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin. The first and hopefully the last mass murderer and rumored cannibal I have ever shaken hands with! Not much was said but pictures were snapped of me and our local Saudi partner saying Salam Aleichem. Before we could even talk about what just happened, a few minutes later, Prince Charles walked up to our both and totally ignored the Xerox boys and all their flapping paper and chose to speak to me.
I had not been warned of how to address the prince and was not expecting him to come up to me so I believe I nervously blurted out “HI”!
He asked what company I represented and told him we were an international moving company called Four Winds with offices in England and the USA to which he replied he thought Four Winds was something you got after eating a spicy Chicken Biryani.
Unfortunately I never met my princess as she sensibly decided to visit a local school but it was a day to remember never the less.
Mohamed however was thrilled at meeting the VIP’s and even wanted a picture of him and Idi to go on the cover of our next brochure which I advised was probably not a great idea.
Soon after that I moved back to England and started up this company with my business partner Tony. I learnt a lot back then in my 20,s. The world was a lot different pre Iraq wars and 9/11, however I can say that despite our differences and beliefs, UPakWeShip and Four Winds are still working together 30 years later.
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