Putting Francis in Charge

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.

About me collage2

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.


2 Comments on “Putting Francis in Charge

  1. Dear Karen, I have followed your messages from the beginning and enjoy each of them immensely. Also, I am a former 25-year employee of P&G although from Memphis’ (Buckeye–a supplier of aw materials for some of the items produced at P&G). I retired in
    2001 with a 42 year tenure with P&G/Buckeye. Naturally, I was drawn to make a connection with you and your interest in travel, etc. I have been to Europe three times and enjoyed every minute of them (Germany-Austria, Scotland and Paris). I’ve never been to Italy though and would love to plan a trip before too long. I will be 80 in February but am in pretty good shape to make a trip soon. Like your mother, I really enjoy seeing and doing special things… Before my last Diamond Bus trip, I read in the Wall Street Journal that retirees who love to travel and learn are called “Road Scholars”. It sounds so impressive that I tell my friends “I am definitely a Road Scholar”. and I hope and pray
    that I can visit your beautiful bed and breakfast before too long. My middle daughter,
    Terri Cunningham, and I travel together often and I know she longs to see Italy as much as I do.
    I look forward to receiving more e-mail messages from Benano di Rocco.and your

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