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home : opinion : opinion January 20, 2021

10/12/2020 2:27:00 AM
Guest Column
Larry Simms' Paris Dilemma

Paulette Ballard
Guest Columnist

I asked Larry Simms what was a moment he would never forget and he told me about a business trip to Paris, France for the company he was working with years ago.  He and one of his co-workers went there for a training seminar and were there about a week. There wasn’t much time to go sightseeing and basically they just attended the seminar and ate at restaurants close to their hotel and the training center. 

After the completion of the seminar Simms’ co-worker suggested they go have a beer and relax. Simms wanted to fly back home right away, but their company policy mandated for safety reasons they had to stay in pairs when they were on a work related trip.

His friend saw a sign that said American Bar so they decided that this was where they would go to have a beer. The door was locked and they knocked on it to see what time it would be open. A woman came to the door, they told her they wanted to buy a beer and she let them in. She then locked the door behind them which gave Larry his first uncomfortable feeling. As he looked around he noticed he and his friend were the only 2 people in the bar.

After they were seated at the bar a young woman walked over and sat down beside them. The bartender asked them if they would buy her a beer and they told him okay. They were sitting there having a conversation about their travel plans and the bartender asked them if they would like to buy the woman a bottle of champagne. Simms and his friend told the bartender no because they would be leaving in a few minutes to fly home from Paris. 

When it came time to pay their bill Simms couldn’t believe his eyes. The tab for 3 beers was 1395 franks (At that time about $350.00 in American money.) He and his friend couldn’t believe this was the amount they were expected to pay. They questioned the bartender and about that time a man walked up with a baseball bat and a chain. Simms paid the bartender with all the money he had and told his co-worker he hoped he had a lot of room on his credit card.

After leaving this establishment they went back to their hotel and complained to the manager about what had happened to them. The manager told them an American Bar in Paris was a “house of ill repute” to put it mildly and they were expected to buy a bottle of champagne for the woman who sat down with them. Following that the madam would show up and they were to gift her with the champagne and the woman would take them to a room. 

Simms said that was the most expensive beer he has ever bought and the experience was one that could have turned out to be very bad if they had not been able to cover the bill. 

I don’t think I would have forgotten this situation either!

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