In a city where people drive $100,000. cars and live in studio apartments , I’ve grown accustom to people asking what the most expensive or fanciest iron bed I have is. I’ve had people walk in my store and say they want the fanciest bed I have, only to find out when we delivered it, that their living arrangements are lets say not really commensurate to the bed they just bought. No interior designers here…………
One day I had a limousine pull up out front and the driver got out, walked around and opened the door for an older couple who were dressed to the “nines”. They came into the store and started looking at beds. They had impeccable manners and were one of the sweetest couples I’ve had the pleasure to ever meet.
It wasn’t long before the woman had selected a beautiful bed I’d just gotten in. It was an bed that was right about in the middle of my price range…..not to high, nor to low. I notice as she was looking at all the beds, she asked the prices and was very attentive when I’d tell her what qualities each of the beds she looked at had and why some beds were better than others. While she looked through just about every stack of beds I had in the store, I got to talk with her husband. Seems they had come to Los Angeles on a short weekend vacation from Texas. He asked me about restaurants and could I suggest a good one. I told him about a couple of great places in Beverly Hills I thought they’d enjoy.
They both thanked me for helping them and said they’d be in touch with where to ship the bed and when. As they were leaving they asked me if I knew of a place to get a quick cup of coffee. I said there was a Starbucks at the end of the block. I heard them ask the driver, who had been standing outside by the car, if he’d like anything from the Starbucks, I forgot to say they had also asked me as they were leaving. He said no thank you and they proceeded to walk up the street. I walked out front and said hello to the driver. He wasn’t your typical Los Angeles Limo driver. This man was older and although dressed nicely, not with designer dud’s. I mentioned to him how nice the couple was. He said they were his best friends and that he had known them since high school. I did the math and realized that must have been between 60 to 70 years ago.
I told him how a lot of people would come in my store and want the most expensive bed I had just so they could try and impress their friends. The old driver looked at me and said…..“big hat…..no cattle”. I laughed my ass off on that one. He had hit the nail right on the head. As we both had a good laugh, he pointed to our older couple walking up to Starbucks and said emphatically ……“CATTLE…….Forbes 500 Cattle”. He said they were the kindest , sweetest people he’d ever known. They’d given him a job when his wife passed away and he was down on his luck.He told me how one Christmas his two grown children had called to thank him from the bottom of their hearts for his Christmas gift. He had sent them a $100. each so they could get presents for his grandchildren . So the “thank you’s” seemed a little much for the traditional money he’d sent. They then explained how on Christmas morning there was a knock on the door and a man dressed in a suit handed them an envelope, said “Merry Christmas from your father” and walked away. The drivers two grown children were both married and were living in different parts of Texas. The economy had hit them both pretty hard and there was some concern as to their future an being able to hang on to their houses. Their mortgages were both upside down and even selling their homes in the current market wouldn’t cover the outstanding mortgage. Times had been hard.
When they opened the envelopes his two children had been handed, they found a Deed of Trust to their homes………paid in full.
When the driver then called the couple he had been friends with all these years and asked why they’d paid off his two children’s houses they said…..” we couldn’t think of anything to get you for Christmas”. A slight moisture came over his eye’s and his voice broke up a little.
Sure is nice when you’re privileged to get to hear stories like that from the people they happen to. I’ve always felt very blessed at the people I’ve come in contact while in this crazy iron bed business.
Ive had the Steven Speiberg’s and George Lucas’s and I’ve also had “shopping cart Chris” who use to sleep in the parking lot along side my store, in the doorway. I’d get him a little something to eat every day and for that he’d have probably stepped in front of a train before he’d let anyone get in my store after hours.
I’m a little far a field from the “Sometimes Simpler Is Better” title. Lets just say antique iron beds have been very very good to me.