No sign of any giant buses ensconced with University of Kentucky logos or advertising at 11117 Decimal Drive in Jeffersontown on Monday morning.
That’s the address of the corporate headquarters that dispatched a UK bus to Cardinal Stadium on Friday to take 50 University of Louisville fans on a trip to South Bend, Ind. There were, however, 15 other tour buses bearing either Shockey Tours or Jefferson Transportation markings on Monday morning.
Imagine the shock of approximately 50 UofL diehards who had for weeks been anticipating a fun trip with fellow fans to see their basketball team play at Notre Dame. Only to see a University of Kentucky bus arrive at the pickup point, according to a WDRB news report.
What were the transportation people thinking? That the group was going to some of the Midwest’s top casinos? Going sightseeing in January? A big family reunion in Northern Indiana? Not this trip, strictly basketball.
One UofL fan upon learning about the incident sent an angry email to Shockey Tours, angrily complaining: “There’s no way you guys didn’t send that UK bus on purpose for the South Bend trip. Those customers deserve their money back. If you don’t offer that, you should be ashamed. That’s just poor business. I’m all for rivalry and pranks but I wouldn’t be juvenile enough to let it cross over into my business and customer service.”
He did receive a response from a Steve Cisco, apparently the driver who replied via Messager, “Were you aware that this company is under new ownership? I was handed this trip a few days back with nothing but a pickup location, time and destination. I knew nothing of this group. I have offered a substantial discount on their next travel.”
Can’t imagine the person making the arrangements for 50 people never mentioning that a UofL group was attending a basketball game against Notre Dame. Likewise, it hard to see how one of the few UK-marked buses being the one that showed up. It would seem like a bus driver would have much more information about a tour group. Was this really a coincidence or was he deliberately kept in the dark? Maybe the joke was him.
The company providing the bus, one of those large 56-passenger buses, was Jefferson Transportation, a Murray, Ky.-based business, which recently purchased all of Shockey Tours assets in Louisville. The company owns dozens, if not hundreds of buses in Louisville alone.
Jefferson Transportation has yet to respond to a telephone call from Card Game about the experience.
Another question that begs to be answered is why the University of Kentucky would be purchasing advertising on buses in Louisville. No one should be surprised that a school that has purchased local billboards for years would be seeking more exposure in the state’s largest city.
Many UK partisans no doubt laughing it up after hearing the story. It’s the kind of thing more than a few of them would wish upon Louisville fans. The kind of over reach that separates Cardinal fans from the insufferables.
Maybe, just maybe, it was a coincidence. However, the UofL fans who rode in a UK bus all the way to South Bend will never forget it and are unlikely to forgive the transportation provider anytime soon. If their team had not claimed a rare win over Notre Dame at South Bend, the 500-mile round trip would have been a total nightmare.