Tour Guide

by Ash Williams


2008, New Zealand: A tour guide company got in contact with me an asked if I would be interested in becoming a tour guide. My first assignment would be a tour of New Zealand with American students. I confidently accepted the job even though I'd never been to New Zealand and knew nothing about New Zealand.

The following week I was on the phone to the tour guide boss, a South African bloke by the name of Niko, and decided I better come clean. I said "Niko mate, I gotta tell ya, I've never been to New Zealand, and don't know too much about it". Niko was very relaxed. Niko said "Ash, it's fine, you work on tips, so if you sound like you know what you're talking about, the Americans will love it, and you will make a shitload of money". I said "sweet as Niko, I can do that".

Two days into the New Zealand tour and everything was going to plan. I was sitting up the front of the bus on the microphone just making things up, for example, every mountain I'd see I would just say "that's a volcano", and then extrapolate on whether the volcano was alive or dormant etc... the American students and teachers were drinking it up. I was sitting back thinking this job is too easy and I would make lots of tips. Later on that afternoon, I was on the mircophone making up some more stuff and out of nowhere the bus driver, Colin, turned on his microphone and said "that's actually incorrect Ash, and you've been saying a lot of incorrect things". I had no idea the bus driver even had a microphone. I responded by saying "Colin's just joking", but the damage was done. Colin didn't look the kind of guy who would joke around. He was about 65 years old, grey hair, wore glasses and rarely smiled. 

For the following two days the bus driver, Colin, did not stop talking. Colin knew everything about New Zealand. The American tourists loved Colin, I even overheard one of the American tourists say "I know who I'm giving my tip to".

For the record, on those New Zealand tours, the bus drivers didn't usually get tipped as much as the tour guides, but on that specific tour, Colin received 90% of the tips. I never saw Colin again. 

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