March 28, 1997 in Idaho

Miles Of Smiles In His Cadillac Whoop De Ville

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Cadillac limousine was hard to pass up, especially for $5,100. So Paul Victorino didn’t.

“I couldn’t believe it when no one wanted it. I figured it would be completely out of my reach,” he says. Then he laughs. “Betcha I haven’t made $500 from it.”

Paul didn’t buy the limo to get rich. He knows cars, has sold Cadillacs, and manages the sales of the rental cars at Coeur d’Alene’s Dollar-Rent-A-Car.

He saw the white limo and wanted to have some fun.

“I thought I might run a small limo service for weddings and stuff like that,” he says. “I never advertised but I got calls all the time.”

Friends wanted him to pick up their kids at school or cruise with him at parties. He was amenable.

“While they were filming ‘Amazing Grace’ here, we were sitting in the limo at an intersection,” he says. A smile creeps across his face. “Everyone in the cars around us was craning to see who was in the back of the limo.”

It was just Paul driving his friends, but he rolled down his window and told neighboring drivers he had Burt Reynolds in back. Then he told his friend to stick his hand out the window and wave.

“People were all excited,” he says, laughing like a little boy who pulled off a great joke.

He’s ferried his daughter’s baseball team to games in the limo and picked up each of his five kids from school on their birthdays. But he’s not stingy with the fun.

Once a month, Paul gussies up his limo and picks up three dressed-to-the-nines students at Lake City High. They’re honor students who’ve won the limo ride to The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s posh Beverly’s restaurant for lunch.

Paul volunteered his time and limo for the whole school year. He lets his passengers stick their heads out of the sunroof and wave to friends, control the stereo, even flip the switch that pushes chilled wine bottles out of a cabinet. Of course, they can’t open the wine.

“I’m all for anything to help kids excel,” he says. “School, as a rule, is boring. It’s great to have a program that allows them to get out of there for a while.”

And have some fun with Paul.

Call for reinforcements

You don’t have to be a professional counselor to help battered women. The Women’s Center in Coeur d’Alene needs plenty of behind-the-scenes help. Answering telephones. Copying paperwork. Sorting through donations. Baby sitting.

If you want to help but don’t know what you can do, go to the Women’s Center volunteer meeting at 7 p.m., April 9, at the center, 2201 Government Way, Suite E. Or call 664-9303. It’s great to feel useful.

Broadway melody

Yes, May 17 is a long way off. But tickets are available now to The Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s “Broadway Showstoppers,” and past experience shows that this group’s top-notch productions sell out quickly.

This show’s a benefit to launch the non-profit theater’s 30th season. It’ll feature Ellen Travolta and Jack Bannon, who have performed in too many television and stage shows to list.

The big names are great, but the show also will feature some not-as-well-known performers from past shows who are terrific.

Tickets for this special show are a little pricey - $30 per person. But this group has proven its worth year after year. Call 769-7780 or (800) 4-CDA-TIX for reservations.

Pretty smile

Coeur d’Alene’s Tina Johnson says the Kootenai County Dental Society fixes for free the teeth of children with no insurance and no money and never asks for thanks. Ask your dentist if he or she belongs.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: What great things does your organization do for your community? Boast about them to Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814; fax to 765-7149; call 765-7128; or e-mail to cynthiat@spokesman.com.

What great things does your organization do for your community? Boast about them to Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814; fax to 765-7149; call 765-7128; or e-mail to cynthiat@spokesman.com.


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