CHICAGO (CBS) — It was supposed to be a fairytale wedding, but the Big Day ended with a frustrated groom and a frazzled business owner.
At issue was a late limo pickup. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory got some perspective from both sides of the dispute.READ MORE: 71-Year-Old Man Shot Multiple Times, Killed While Heading To Store To Buy Newspaper In Chinatown
To say the grand entrance to their wedding ball required some magic would be an understatement. Jeremy and Brandon Vencott rescheduled their nuptials four times thanks to COVID-19.
“Up until 24 hours before I was convinced something else was going to happen,” Jeremy Vencott told CBS 2.
The drama did arrive – and it was almost an hour late. Their wedding day transportation turned out to be a Sprinter van, not the fancy sport-utility vehicle limo the couple ordered.
“I’m like ‘One, two, three. Am I counting wrong?’ There were 13 seats,” said Vencott.
The problem was that 14 people were in their wedding party. That forced a bridesmaid to ride on a groomsman’s lap.
“It was terrible,” said Vencott. “I tried to remain positive. It was my wedding day, but it was not the way I expected to start it.”
“It was either that [an alternative vehicle] or we leave them stranded,” said Muhammad Tariq from M&M Limo. He said he understands why someone wouldn’t choose the latter.
Tariq agreed to talk to CBS 2 to help clear up what’s been going on at M&M Limo. He’s had his hands full with several upset customers lately.
CBS 2 asked about recent one-star reviews of the company.
“Number one is the driver shortage,” Tariq said explaining that little to no back-up staff causes issues when a sick call comes in, which started to happen more frequently over the summer with the return of events and the rise of the Delta variant.READ MORE: First Illinois Case Of Omicron COVID-19 Variant Confirmed In Chicago Resident
He recalls a sick-call scenario. “There’s going to be 40 people on this bus. I don’t want to risk it.’ ‘Hey man no problem. I understand. I’ll talk to you later.’ After I hang up the phone, I’m like, ‘What am I going to do?'”
In many cases, the answer is scramble up help from other limo companies – but that comes with a price. Tariq showed CBS 2 records that M&M paid another vendor more than $1,000 to get the Vencotts an alternative vehicle after the SUV limo they picked broke down last minute. It wasn’t what the couple wanted, but since their booking was $700, the company ate $300.
“We hope that people understand we’re trying behind the scenes,” Tariq said.
That includes scheduling less trips these days.
“We’re booking at 50 or 60 percent right now,” Tariq said.
M&M is also looking to hire its own mechanics – the company used to have three, but is down to one. Faster repairs would help prevent delays caused by equipment failures.
“We cannot find anyone to hire. We’ve put out ads and spend thousands of dollars on Indeed and other sites,” Tariq said.
It’s been an exhausting few months for all involved. At least the Vencotts got their happy ending.
“Getting to marry the love of my life, the most cliched answer,” said Jeremy about his favorite part of the Big Day.
After their interview with CBS 2, the couple was informed they’ll be getting a full refund from M&M Limo.MORE NEWS: Jussie Smollett Testifies Osundairo Brothers Asked For $2 Million To Say They Weren't Involved In Any Hoax
The company is still short about 25 drivers and is currently offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus.