A BIRTHDAY treat saw Solihull senior citizen Donald Bridges glide to his regular Mell Square Costa coffee in a plush Rolls Royce on Tuesday.
The icon of motoring engineering excellence had been laid on by Sajjad Hussain of Solihull Taxi Cabs as a special 87th birthday present.
Sajjad had been Donald’s regular black cab driver in the first lockdown, taking him for dialysis treatment at Solihull Hospital.
During those long Covid months the two of them had struck up a friendship so that when Sajjad heard Donald’s birthday was coming up, he knew he had to do something special.
“It was quite a shock, I can tell you,” said Donald, who’d asked for a taxi to pick him up from Yew Tree Medical Centre where he’d had hid diabetes check up.
“When I came out of the doctors I saw this Rolls Royce and I thought, ‘oh, that looks nice’.
“Then Sajjad got out and said, ‘come on, let’s go for your coffee’ and off we went.”
Donald’s been a regular at Mell Square branch of Costa since his wife died in 2005, to the extent that he’s known as ‘Mr Costa’ by staff.
“When my wife died I spent the first few months with my son and daughter,” said the grandfather of two.
“I knew I had to go home and one day I went and sat outside Costa and I was a bit upset.
“This lady came up, and I don’t know who she was and I haven’t seen her since, but she said ‘I’ll get you a coffee’ and after that I’ve been going nearly every day.”
Donald’s actual birthday was on Sunday and he was treated by his son Jason on Saturday and his daughter Samantha on the day itself, but he was thrilled with his bonus present.
Sajjad said he managed to get hold of the Rolls Royce through business contacts in Birmingham.
“It was absolutely beautiful to get him that surprise,” he said.
“I opened the door for him and in he got and he said, ‘oh, I do like this’.
“‘He’s a lovely man, all the staff at Costa know him and will say the same, for me, he’s a customer who has become a friend.”