There are details of this story that Alyce and Neil Robertson don’t quite agree on.
“We were on our way to a wedding on a Saturday afternoon,” recalls Alyce.
“A Sunday, yeah,” recalls Neil, “we were on our way to a wedding.”
This Saturday (or Sunday) wedding trip roughly 20 (or 30) years ago has become a go-to party story for the Robertsons, who can at least agree that they were disagreeing at the time.
“My husband and I were having a fight... We were running late,” says Alyce, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority.
“Or at least according to Alyce we were running late... I don’t remember why we were running late, but I know I was getting the blame for running late,” says Neil, a partner at Daniels Kashtan.
Neil drove, quickly. The “couple of yuppies driving a Volvo” left their home in Morningside and hopped on I-195 to merge onto I-95.
Neil thinks he probably was not paying as close attention as he should have because he was "chewed out for being late." And seemingly out of nowhere, there was a loud, angry honk.
“I think I probably cut this guy off,” says Neil. (“I don’t think we did,” says Alyce.)
Regardless, the angry honker sped up to the passenger side of the Robertsons' car. Alyce looked over.
“Oh my God,” she remembers saying, “he’s got a gun.”
The driver pointed a handgun directly at their car. Alyce ducked and Neil looked over.
“Holy s---!” he remembered thinking. “‘What the hay?” Neil stepped on the gas, fecklessly “because the Volvo just doesn’t accelerate -- at all."
So Neil slowed down instead. The gun-toting, horn-honking driver sped off north on I-95. The Robertsons headed south.
“For a while it was just silence,” said Neil. “It did end the argument about running late.”
The Robertsons -- married now for 27 years -- still tell this story all the time. But when they tell it, the point isn’t necessarily to show that Miami drivers are crazy and that life is short and marital fights are stupid.
No, they learned a much more valuable lesson that day.
“We went south down to the Church of the Little Flower,” recalls Neil.
They got there the moment the wedding was to begin.
“We pull up right in front of the church -- primo parking spot,” says Neil. “Run right into this church.”
“There’s nobody here,” said Alyce. “And they’re still setting up the flowers.”
It was another 45 minutes before the bride finally walked down the aisle.
“So we wasted 45 minutes and got a gun pointed at us because we thought we were late for an event,” said Neil. “We hadn’t gotten used to how Miami works on time.”
And so goes the story of how Alyce and Neil Robertson learned the valuable lesson of Miami time.
The End of the Road is looking for your stories about life on, around or avoiding I-95. (They certainly needn't all involve danger.) If you have a great story, write it up (beginning, middle, end, what you learned, how it changed you, etc.) and send it to Kenny Malone: kmalone@miamiherald.
This story was originally published on May 2, 2014.