We followed our friends to our rental car at the beginning our short vacation together, feeling a palpable sense of freedom and relaxation. The source of our contentment was easy to pinpoint: we weren’t in charge. While we had all chosen the destination and lodging together, another couple had rented the car and they would be doing the driving and navigating. As Paul and I climbed into the far back seats of the rented van, we felt as much like privileged children under the care of doting parents as any middle-aged people possibly could. We were so unburdened by responsibility that we were practically giddy.
All of which leads me to tell you about Francis Surman.
Francis is the genial, accommodating, and detail-oriented driver and personal assistant who has been working with our guests since 2009. When we hear that guests have engaged Francis for the week, I don’t worry about a thing because I know our guests won’t have to, either. Once they find each other at the airport, Francis will take care of everything. He’s the doting, protective caretaker that can make any vacation a dream.
A guest who just wrote to tell me about her stay said,
“… [and] as to the ALL TIME BEST DECISION EVER: Francis. So caring, attentive, professional, friendly, genuine, knowledgeable, flat out AMAZING person. What he provided was far beyond a ‘driver’ rather he made EVERY experience we had (dining to shopping to hanging out) 10 million times better. I can’t say enough good things about him and our experiences with him.”
That’s not unusual feedback. Francis has a way of knowing what people want even before they can quite put their finger on it. After a week with Francis, our guests go home with the best souvenir of all: a new friend.