THE ADVENTURES OF HAMED
Sprinting at 137 km/hour on Swiss highways isn’t usually a good idea, but when there is no traffic and the GPS is tuned properly, one can usually trust the ETA timer on the NAV to make sure the passengers en route to the airport won’t miss the flight to which they are being driven.
Cut to New Year’s Day 2014 when Hamed began a company and almost familial tradition now known as the Adventures of Hamed.
Winding down the Engadin pass, we were all amazed by the sunset. Having just finished a fast as fresh lunch with the infamous Georgia Mazolli at a small chalet somewhere near the Suvretta House…we thought we could take our time. Leave it to chance that a snowstorm slowed us down and added thirty minutes to the journey – even in a G. Swiss timing flew out of the window. This was going to be a close a call and close calls usually are not fun. Swiss Flight 304 was leaving for London at no later than 20:07, we had 90 minutes to get there, and there were no later flights. Hamed had to be in London because no one knew he was flying Forbidden City in Switzerland that weekend (until now). Relying on years of experience navigating Zürich Kloten’s airport, we knew what we had to do. It is not often that one undresses a friend, much less a client, even more so both, in the front seat of a car with military-like precision: a real-time costume change no less. Ski clothes turned into evening attire – a kind of fashion alchemy where bulletproof nylon morphed into cashmere and silk blend, leather and shoes minus rubber soles.
With 22 minutes to go in the ride and a check-in cut off time at 40 minutes prior to departure, the decision was made to jettison the checked baggage. Forbidden City’s faithful warrior Arsen, would have the privilege of shipping it to the UK the next day. With little more than our crisp electric blue croco credit card wallet in his pocket, his iphone with online boarding pass stored and his handy Kittitian passport, all safely tucked away in his Forbidden City Messenger, he was as ready to go as the Delta Force when they freed 120 hostages from that tiny TWA plane in Rome in 1983.
The car neared the First Class door at ZRH – with no speeding violations or camera flashes (137 is the magic number by the way). We calculated that Hamed had exactly 13 minutes to get to the boarding gate from the front of the airport. He made it there in a record six minutes and insofar as we know, is now in some sort of Swiss record book. What’s more, no one noticed him stash his Chunghwa cigarettes! He even had enough time to have a drag before they drug him by the collar into the jet.
Swissness is in every element of our life and our work. Hamed knows this now all too well.