Richard Branson meets the Marlboro Man

We are definitely an odd couple — me and Allen.

He’s the Marlboro Man — but with a touch of gentility. When he dresses to impress, it’s black jeans, light brown cowboy boots, a white shirt, bolo tie, elegant camel coat that fits him perfectly — and a black Stetson.

I’ve been compared with Richard Branson. There’s a picture of him that keeps showing up on LinkedIn. I look like that picture, but with a receding hairline and shorter hair. And a bit older. And a bit scruffier — although I do clean up nicely. And I haven’t been knighted (yet.) Sorry, that’s Sir Richard Branson.

We make quite an impression when we enter a room together — me and Allen. (I’ve never met Sir Richard Branson.) And even though we’re both in our sixties, we are chick magnets. The ladies can’t resist us. We always get a good table in a restaurant when it’s a hostess seating us. And waitresses give us plenty of attention.

For someone who’s spent most of his adult life driving a bus around Seattle, Allen can hold his own in just about any company. We were once at a very fancy restaurant in downtown Seattle. The waitress was curious to know the nature of our association. I told her we were brothers. She looked at Allen and then at me — and then back at Allen:

“If you’re brothers, then how come you look and sound American while he has an English accent?”

Without skipping a beat, Allen put an arm around my shoulders and announced:

“We’re long lost brothers!”


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