The Pizza Ride Prank

Sir John Hargrave pulled a prank on me the other day. A luxurious prank, in which I played along a bit and avoided getting any egg on my face whatsoever.

Here's what happened:
John ( and I had been talking on the phone about upcoming projects and pranks, so I got a weird feeling when asked what I was up to for the rest of my Sunday. Was he going to pull something?

John lives in Boston and I live in Sacramento, so he can't just leave a bag of burning dog shit on my porch unless he hires someone to leave it for him. God forbid he ever makes a friend in northern California.

Now accepting applications for gutsy, honest, non-homocidal people who live in Boston.


I forgot about this feeling soon after the phone call was over, but when a driver in a shirt and vest showed up at my door, I knew John was responsible.

"Rob? Are you ready?" He asked. Parked behind him on the street was a BMW SUV.

"No." was my reply. "Where are we supposed to go?"

I had assumed John was going to send a pizza to my house, but instead I get a car and driver.

"Uh..." he checked his notes, "I'm taking you to John's house."

I started laughing. He had no idea. "We aren't going to John's house, John lives in Boston." Stacy overheard the conversation and started laughing.

The driver smiled and started laughing too. He got onto his phone. "He doesn't know anything about it. He says his friend is playing a prank on him. No. John lives in Boston.... Massachusetts".

The driver left my doorway and walked back to his car, still talking on his phone. My kids came up and started asking me questions. I had no answers for them. A few minutes later, the driver returned to my doorway

"Ok. Change of plans. Are you ready?"

The look on his face said it all. This was an offer to embark on a mystery journey, because the car and driver had already been paid for. It was absurd, because I could obviously say "No."

But I didn't say No.

"Stacy. I'm going with him. Not really sure where."

"O...K..." she started. Then she added. "I'm not coming to pick you up".

That could get tricky. Luckily the iphone pretty much comes with everything I'd need to get home, so I double checked my battery and walked out to the car. The driver opened the door and I hopped inside. I figured there was about an 80% chance I was going to be dropped off somewhere with no ride home. But where? The driver wasn't talking. At a red light he turned around and gave me his card. The GPS was off. We got onto the freeway. My first thoughts were worst case scenarios: "50 miles away" and "the shipyard" also "strip club". As the car turned east, I imagined the worst place to the east. As the car turned North, I imagined the worst place to the North. I wasn't really worried, because the driver would be there too, anywhere I went.

We left the freeway at 65th street and got onto Folsom Boulevard, heading east. We travelled about another mile, doing a quick U turn to end up in front of One Speed, an upscale pizza restaurant.

"This is it!" He parked right in front and walked around the car to let me out. There were a few couples seated outside, so I may have looked like a visitor / big shot.

A pizza place. Ok. I get it, I thought. This is a variation on the pizza delivered to your house prank.

The host greeted me at the door. "Would you like a table?"

"Hi, my name is Rob... Are you.. expecting me?"

Blank stare.

No. The restaurant wasn't expecting me. I picked up a menu and started looking for a pizza to bring home.

The "Rick's" pizza looked interesting, so I ordered one at the counter and took a seat at the bar. Then I remembered the car.

I spun my head around to get a look outside. Did he take off?

No. The car was still there. Ok. I was starting to get the idea this was not a cruel prank at all, just a nice trip to a pizza place.

I texted John. "Pizza Accomplished". In a few minutes I collected the pizza, paid and left. A stepped back into the car and the driver returned me directly to my house. Nothing out of the ordinary happened.

When we arrived back at the house, three police cars were parked in front, and my wife was standing on the driveway.

The neighbors had had a fight with their landlord, which had spilled out into the street. I had missed it. The driver opened my door and let me out and we said goodbye. I brought the pizza into the house and cut up slices for the kids.

Stacy was glad nothing bad had happened, as was I. I wished I had caught more of it on film, but you can't really catch yourself reacting on camera. It was a nice, harmless prank.

But then I found out what really happened.

John had ordered two pizzas at One Speed, 15 minutes before I got there! He had intended for me to pick them up and to be stuck with a $35 pizza bill!

Two pizzas which were decorated with pepperoni to spell out "John Rules". Unfortunately, I missed it and the host at One Speed didn't make the connection either.

When John had gotten the "Pizza Accomplished" text from me, he had assumed that it was also Prank Accomplished, his plan had worked, and that I had been stuck paying for the pies.

But no! I had escaped!

For that day.

The pizzas showed up later.

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August 19, 2011   Terms and Conditions  Copyright 2011