Okay, here's the story:
S's daughter was a tomboy about everything except for some reason, one dream she had harbored since the 7th grade: for her Senior Prom, she'd go in a white limo, chauffeured by a driver in a trim suit (and maybe a hat) who would tactfully open the doors and roll out a red carpet for them to walk on, so not to muss their shoes. She talked about this so often over the years, S knew each stipulation by heart and how important each detail was to her daughter (let's call her 'X'). S said she took advantage of this, too - if X's grades were sliding, or she missed curfew, S had only to mention the limo dream and X would tow the line. S used it to make sure X maintained a certain GPA. S said she'd gladly pay for the limo if X's grades were kept up.
By her senior year, X was nagging her mom to call the car services to lock down the date and car style/color/etc., and make sure the service would come through on the other details, like the chauffeur's suit, the red carpet, etc. By this time, a sun roof had been added, and X had begun fantasizing about chilled champagne and a bouquet of roses, but S told her she was pretty sure the wine and flowers weren't gonna happen. S called three limo services and negotiated with one, three months in advance, and then would call every month to make sure they were still on the books and everything was lined up like X wanted.
The plan was to gather at X's house, take photos, and then leave from there to the restaurant 30 minutes away before hitting the dance. The limo would be reserved all night, eventually taking the seniors after the Prom to the senior breakfast at 3 a.m. On the Big Day, X and her two closest GF's and their dates were ready and waiting. S said X looked radiant and appeared to be floating on air. All the kids looked adorable in their finery. Just then she spied a black limo turning into the driveway. It had no sun roof. It sputtered a bit as the engine was turned off. S's heart sank. Two people - a man and a woman, climbed out of the front, wearing blue jeans and tee-shirts. The driver explained the other person was a new-hire riding along that night to observe. What about the car, S demanded. It was all wrong. And their clothes! The driver said the service had only one white limo, and it was in service that night for a wedding. He said 'no one had said anything to him about a white limo with a sun roof,' anyway, and showed S a slip on a clipboard he withdrew from the front seat. It said the limo was available until 11 p.m.
By this time, S was trying to calm a group of flustered kids, soothe her stunned daughter, and negotiate with the chauffeur. The office was closed for the day. They could take it or leave it but they wouldn't get their deposit back, since they drove from 30 minutes away to get there, the driver said. The kids were disappointed but decided to use the service. S couldn't get them to extend the hours, so she figured she'd clean her work van and meet them after the dance to take them to the breakfast. She hoped by then they wouldn't care as much.
The drive and newbie turned towards the car. Wait -- what about opening the door? What about the red carpet? The chauffeur shrugged, opened the trunk, and flipped a faded red bathmat onto the ground. He opened the back door with an exaggerated flourish and bow. By now, S could see X was practically in tears. The six kids squeezed in the back, and asked for a little air. (There wasn't a separate window between the back and the front seat). They were informed the a/c didn't work.
After swinging on the highway the driver turned on a CW station, and reluctantly turned it off when the kids protested. Then the driver missed the exit, and got turned around, and after fruitlessly cruising the streets, pulled over to ask directions at a 7-11. By the time they found the restaurant, they had missed their reservations, and didn't want to wait 30 minutes for the next seating. They ended up at the drive-thru of a Wendy's, where everybody, driver and newbie included, ordered food and drinks they passed around, all except X, who didn't feel like eating.
Off to the dance. Once again, the driver lost his way. (Apparently, knowing your way around the city wasn't a requirement to be hired as a limo driver with this service). The kids finally spotted the venue, but were so late getting there, they weren't able to have formal photos taken at the dance.
S said she called several times trying to get the service to make this right - as much as one could re-wind and make good on a dashed dream of seven years -- but the most the service was willing to do was give the kids 30 free minutes in a car! As incredible as that seems. I told her it was time to call the BBB, for one. I never did find the outcome, though. What a funny sad story. It sure summed up how a person can dream about a thing for years and then have all your best-laid plans dashed through no fault of your own. I'm pretty sure those kids had learned that lesson already by the time they were graduating high school, though. They didn't need that lesson shoved up in their face on their important night.