And, also “Lit as F#ck” according to my newly minted Sixteen year old.
Limos are kind of like a food staple that you always have in your house, and don’t ALWAYS use, but usually need at some point or another – typically you end up choosing a brand and sticking with it out of loyalty. Limos are a BIG step above cabs and are the ‘lets spoil ourselves’ choice when you need a ride. There are lots of brands and styles to choose from and the one that gets your attention first is usually the one that wins your loyalty – or so it used to be this way in business. These days, as choices are more diverse and consumer expectations and tastes are getting more complex – the brand that wins is not necessarily the brand that is the cheapest, biggest, loudest, full of glitzy, fritzy, and pomp posturing – these days businesses are winning their clients over by getting back to basics – community and relationships. AND, I am all over this!
Recently, I was challenged with the task of helping my 15 year old daughter celebrate her Mid October, 16th birthday in style. And ‘style’ is a matter of perspective and personality when it comes to a 16 year old these days. My particular ‘teen’ person is also quite intelligent and is of the generation that challenges EVERYTHING about society, culture, rules and dogma – and I love it. I feel this generation will ultimately save us.
Anyhow, creating an event for her was not the cookie cutter, ‘Sweet Sixteen’ princess party that I was finding all over the internet. I needed to create an event that was real, authentic, fun and stylin’ enough to impress my daughter – who by the way, expressly asked for her ‘Sweet Sixteen’ to be anything BUT sweet – of course. One of my first tasks was trying to find ‘rude balloons’ – do you know they exist? I didn’t – until my daughter told me they did. They are hard to find and I couldn’t ultimately deliver on this – but for the purposes of this story, it gives you a good idea of what I was dealing with – A sardonic, twisted, intelligent, creative and REAL group of kids who are leaders in their schools in computers, writing, arts, LGBT rights and other powerful expressions of a generation sick of the falseness and lack of authenticity in the world these days.
Ok – phew – so Mom, whatcha gonna do for this kid and her genius friends?
After a ton of searching on the internet I just couldn’t find anything that really hit the mark. I was feeling kind of disappointed about this, then rather annoyed about it – and then, just before I decided to let it go for the day and try again tomorrow, I found a ‘Little Limo’ that could. And by little, I mean a one person, one car operation. Something about this particular limo company looked different, so I looked deeper.
Authentic Limousine is a driving service company that is Vancouver’s ONLY openly gay owned and operated limousine business. The first thing you see when you land on the website is: Safety. Integrity. Equality. This alone made me stop. How many other limo companies out there START their marketing and connection to their clients by stating their values? I hadn’t seen any. Upon further exploration, I learned that Authentic Limo gives back to the community in a BIG way, which is always a key factor in choosing businesses for me. My interest and trust in this organization was growing by the minute. By the time I got to the ‘perks’ and services, I was pretty much sold. This company was sure to let you know that your safety, comfort and support was paramount, and then after that was taken care of, the party was gonna be ‘TOTALLY LIT!’ (A phrase I learned from my kid from a video she took inside the limo – because I’m not THAT cool ) This excited me – could THIS be the solution I was looking for? My daughter had said she hated the idea of limos, but I realized what she hated was the way they market themselves and the ‘falseness’ a lot of them promote and support and of course the ‘same old same old – nothing new here’ aspect of the whole thing.
I contacted the owner, Kurtis, to see if we could create a fun time for my weirdo daughter and her friends that they would remember and also feel genuinely absorbed and excited about. What totally nabbed my loyalty was when Kurtis was ALL for it and totally embraced it. He even helped me find some ‘rude birthday cards’ and material for the party so that I could deliver on that sardonic element for my kid. I ended up scoring the most perfect Birthday card for her at a place in Gastown – ‘KimPrints’ that Kurtis recommended. It said “For my beautiful daughter who is full of life, love and light, and also a little ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ – This was the ONLY birthday card she read out to the family as we were all together celebrating her day. This means so much to me ( not just because I swear like a viking and feel a mother’s pride that my daughter does too) more for my daughter to feel the confidence to BE who she is in all the real and raw – without judgement. And seriously? I get red flags with folks who can’t handle dark humour like that – it’s the best way to embrace life in all its horribleness and happiness while staying REAL about it all. And really, she is MY daughter after all – something about the apple doesn’t fall far…?
Before I digress here, what’s most important to note was the willingness that Authentic Limo had and the creativity in supporting me create this ‘Not So Sweet Sixteen’ Party environment for my weirdo kid. He was all over it – AND, I hadn’t seen nothing yet…
When the limo arrived to pick up the Motley Crew, it was decorated and outfitted with Halloween dressings that would put the top neighborhood ‘trick or treat’ house to shame; Skeletons, Ghouls, Body Parts, Syringes full of poison (Cranberry Juice) and goody bags full of eyeball jellies, chocolate bars and other assorted creepy candy concoctions. The otherwise usually restrained, controlled and ‘too cool’ team of misfits all started yelling and talking over each other in excitement. And, let me add here that this crew is VERY diverse in many different ways. They were at home instantly and were eager to get underway for their hour long drive into HELL – or wherever they went. What happened DURING that ride I have limited knowledge on – of course – but I did get the overall feedback of: ‘TOTALLY AWESOME!’ “LOVED IT!” “MY FRIENDS WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!” And, Kurtis did show me that one of the kids had managed to get a plastic eyeball to rotate in the air, suspended over the air vent in the limo so that it was spinning and floating about 1/2 a foot above the vent – seriously?
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Science or voodoo? We originally posted this video with Thriller by Michael Jackson playing in the background but it was quickly removed due to copyrights so you’ll just have to use your imagination. #AuthenticLimo #DancingEyeball #EyeballsOnIce #BloodBag #SeveredLimb #Halloween #WestEnd #Vancouver #Vancity #YVR #Limousine #Limo
I have to add here, because you’re probably wondering – How DID I get my snarky sixteen year old to agree to a limo in the first place?
Well, all I had to say was that it was the only openly gay owned limo company in Vancouver and it supported LGBT and Rare Disease organizations. This was different enough and authentic – and also ‘risky’ enough for my daughter to go for it. And by risky, I mean a company that was willing to stand behind their values, with no apologies, no justifications and no excuses. It just WAS. This is how my daughter wants to see the world – and I hope I am still around when they manage to change the world for the better with that focus on acceptance, support, community, creativity and diversity.
So, when it comes down to it…
WHY choose a company like Authentic Limousine for your staple, standard, regular celebrations, airport drop offs or pick ups or ‘party on the town’ events?
I say choose this company because – it is not just some product you buy for the night, it becomes an experience that you remember because it becomes your own. It becomes your own, because the owner is dedicated and committed to supporting you in letting you ‘fly that freak flag high’ (YA, Bob Marley – thanks for that quote, man) – even if you are only brave enough to inch it up the mast a little – you are accepted, welcomed and encouraged to get down and funky in whatever way makes you feel at home. How freeing and absolutely ‘ROCKIN’ is that?
You can customize your ride service however you like. You can go all the way like I did and request decorations in a theme, or just keep it simple and classy with a polite and courteous drive with the ONLY white glove and cap limousine service left in the City. Kurtis looks smashing in his outfit, but it is a very important aspect to his service – it brings the grace and style – that is also missing these days – back into the formality and IMPORTANCE of your special event – no matter what it is. To me it reads RESPECT.
When my daughter explained to me how much she enjoyed it, she talked about how COOL Kurtis was – you see, these kids wouldn’t see him as a servant driver who had no personality. These kids were happier that he was involved, engaged and having just as much fun as they were. THAT is what made it an exemplary experience for them. And, it’s an important distinction. The world is diverse and full of colour and expressions. When we get the chance to celebrate who we are with no judgement, no limitations and no fear – we become free. And freedom is the BEST form of fun that there is!
When I learned a little more about Kurtis it appears that he was one of those ‘weirdo’ kids himself, looking for a place to belong and feel safe enough to be ‘himself’. He told me that he was kicked out of his home when he was younger for being ‘Gay’ and that he had always said as a kid that he wanted to ‘drive a limo’ – His self expression and wild and wonderful dreams resulted in him being labeled ‘bipolar’ by those who were supposed to care for him. He was forced to see a psychiatrist, sent to a group home and put on lithium until he was able to take control of his own life to get a second opinion that ultimately told him that he was misdiagnosed. Kurtis is no stranger to the shackles of a fearful society and the control it tries to exert over our lives and choices. However, Kurtis rose above it all and managed to come full circle – by realizing his limo dream – and in the process, holding fast the values of authenticity, integrity and exclusivity so that the weirdo in all of us can at least have some place to come and play, let loose and party a bit. And, let me be clear – when I say ‘weirdo’ it is the equivalent to saying ‘creative genius’ – it’s only weird in our society since we don’t tend to prize independent thinking, diverse tastes or identities or outside the box ideas. But, I believe we will, eventually and these ‘weirdo’s’ will lead us there.
As for the ‘Little Limo that Could’ NOTHING about this company’s service, delivery, approach and heart is little. It is BIG in the most authentic of ways and if you consider yourself an awake, aware and genuine person – who really would love a fun party for your birthday, a celebratory ride after a milestone event, or just an awesome kick off your shoes comfort ride after a long flight – you can feel confident that Authentic Limo will deliver all of that, and more.
I’m beaming unapologetically about this company because it feeds my hope that the world will come back to valuing relationships, community, inclusiveness, family and values over money, fake beauty and power – and enough of this CHEAP already! VALUE is what I’m looking for and some damn integrity in business.
Authentic Limo and Kurtis have my Viking Vote – hands down. I’m trying to come up with future events just to be able to hire him to drive us around.
Some of the unique and wonderful things that you get when you book a ride with Authentic Limo are the following:
- No Hidden Fees. What you see is what you pay. Many companies have all sorts of extra ‘fees’ that get added on after you’ve chosen their ‘cheapest rates in Vancouver’ marketing manipulation on their website ( and quite frankly – who wants to boast that they are CHEAP? ) Kurtis doesn’t understand this approach, and neither do I. It lacks integrity, and after you fork over extra money for; Meet and Greet Fees, Cleanup Fees and Mileage Fees it just is not the value you are looking for or were led to believe it was. Nothing steams me up more than that type of slimy sales tactics.
- No Mandatory Tip. I have to say here, I actually FORGOT to tip Kurtis as the whole thing was so exciting and fun and I felt shitty about it afterwards – but this is how you WANT to feel. You want to feel inspired to tip, not like it is part of the contract. I don’t like it when coffee shops add it automatically and I don’t like it when any travel service adds it automatically. Most limo services add a mandatory 15% fee to their bill. You need to work for that tip, not this entitlement crap – and Kurtis does – I’ll be making up for my shitty tipping behavior with Kurtis in the near future as I plan on utilizing his services as much as I can! But this is a choice I will make, not something I’m strong armed into.
- EVERYTHING is included and is Complimentary – Ice, water, pop, snacks, WiFi, Nintendo Wii with Netflix and select games. Glass ware, napkins and TONS more. There is also a Samsung tablet to play your favourite tunes. My kid had this goin’ on right away. Many companies only offer the water and glassware with napkins – and nothing else – The bar is empty – just like their hearts. ( ok, ok, melodramatic, but think about it – really?)
- No ridiculous minimums – Authentic Limo weekday minimum is only 1 hour and weekends are 2 hours. Most other companies have 4 or even 6 hour minimums and charge the full hourly rate to drive to you before even picking you up. With Authentic Limo – your time card starts when you get in the vehicle, as it should be, in all locations in Vancouver. For locations like Abbotsford or Surrey there is a nominal charge for the distance to travel to you.
I dare you to find another limo Company in Vancouver that provides all this, and also has the personality, grit and warrior values about it that Authentic Limo does. Kurtis is ahead of his time, and I hold fast my own dreams that in due time, his approach to business and service will be the standard.
To hire Kurtis for your event, You’ll want to book him soon! You can contact him through the website: www.authenticlimo.ca
And be sure to FOLLOW him on Social!