Juan driven by desire to handle a limo
By Anesta Henry | Wed, August 22, 2012 - 10:31 AM
This week's Wednesday Woman was driven into a male-dominated field by pure ambition and determination.
Driving people to weddings, funerals, functions, or just taking them for a “two-hour drive to cruise around the island” in a 28-foot long vehicle is her job.
Juan Alleyne is the only female limousine driver in Barbados.
“I was always fascinated with limos. And I always said to myself that one of these days I either have to drive a limousine or drive in one. I went to a wedding and a limo was there from the same company I am working with now.
“I went to the driver and I said to him, ‘I would really love to drive a limo’. I asked him how I could get into driving limos.
“He said to me, ‘Well, you know what, you might be in luck because my boss is looking for a female driver’,” Alleyne said during a recent interview.
That wedding was in 2005. And in just a matter of weeks, after accepting the proposal, Alleyne was married to her new job. However, shortly after the union, she felt like divorcing it but seven years later, the two are still together.
“Learning to manoeuvre a limousine is not as easy as driving a car, especially when it comes to reversing,” she admitted.
“It was hard and I wanted to give up, but my male colleagues told me that I couldn’t just give up, I had to keep practising and eventually I would get better at it. I took their advice.
“When I wasn’t working, I used to call on another limousine driver and tell him, ‘Andrew [Eastmond], today I want to go out and get some practice reversing, even if it takes me four or three hours’, and he always [accommodated] me.
“Andrew has made me the good driver I am today,” said Alleyne, humbly adding: “I think I am a great limousine driver.”
She has overcome her reversing hiccup, mastering the technique. But there seems to be one challenge that the St Philip resident often wonders if she will ever overcome.
Will people, particularly men, ever come to grips with the fact that she is a female limousine driver?
“Men think that they are the better drivers. So when they see me driving the limousine, they are always like, ‘Let me see if she can get this in there’. But I always show them that I can get it done.
“When I first started people really used to try to cry me down and belittle me. Sometimes you go to do a wedding and people see a woman driving and would say, ‘I don’t want a female driver, she like she can’t drive; I don’t want her to drive me’. Sometimes, I hadn’t even moved from the location yet,” she said.
The employee of Tanzanite Limousine Company, located in the Williams Industries Complex, Warrens, St Michael, said she has driven people of all classes and age groups. She has even had one or two celebrities.
“I come to do a job and I don’t pry into people’s business. When I come to do a job, I come to do a job. I don’t come to see if it is Rihanna. I put my clients in the limo, roll up the privacy glass, introduce them to the drinks in the car and take them where they have to go and make sure they get there safely.”
Alleyne, who is in her mid-30s, recalled saying, “I would never, ever drive a hearse in my life” when she was much younger. Now, a much wiser Alleyne says she has learnt that “We should never say never” for in addition to driving a limousine, she also drives a hearse part-time.
“Sometimes, if I don’t have to drive the limo, I drive a hearse for a friend. Driving a hearse is much different from driving a limousine because a limo is much longer than a hearse.”
- Editor's Choice
- Your Lamen commented on $60M loss
- Tanya Respect Forde commented on Rihanna, wins R&B artist, album
- Tony Webster commented on EDITORIAL: LIME’s $100m investment great news
- Judy Clarke commented on DEAR CHRISTINE: Should I bail out because of disease?
- Frank Husbands commented on Credit unions must pull investments