Justin Plackett of A&J Limousine and Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo (March 23, 2014)
Paul Wellman

Justin Plackett and his wife, Andrea, started A and J Limousine in Santa Barbara more than a decade ago. They are quick to mention how rewarding it’s been to see their business grow from just one car in 2002 to a complete, flourishing fleet today, but the success couldn’t have happened to nicer people. Justin’s one of the most dependable (and funniest) people you can imagine, and their enterprise is a total reflection of their personality.

Recently, Justin’s passion for fun cars led them to purchasing a 1927 Ford Model T and elongating it into an eight-person vehicle for tours. You’ve probably witnessed the Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo driving around our streets yourself.

Justin took enough time away from being behind the wheel to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

What do you like most about your job?

What I really enjoy is the freedom that it gives me to make my own schedule. I also actually enjoy driving so that is an added bonus.

What’s your greatest memory about driving somebody?

I have driven a lot of people over the years, from the famous to us regular folks. Many have been interesting and enjoyable to drive and oftentimes talk to. One person that stands out in my memory, though, is when I drove Diane Keaton for an entire day from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and back. She was very funny, and we had a great time talking there and back.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I would have to say automobiles. I have always had a great love for obscure automobiles and have even owned a few. Most have been the kind of cars that are an embarrassment to the automotive industry, but I seem to really enjoy them.

What is your current state of mind?

I am doing pretty good, thanks for asking. I am for the most part in a good mood and excited to see what each new day brings.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I would have to say no regrets. If you can live your life with the realization that mistakes will be made but they don’t necessarily define you, and at the end of your life you can look back and be at peace with what you have accomplished, this for me would be perfect happiness.

What is your greatest fear?

This is a tough one because there are a lot of things to be fearful of. Other than the obvious such as losing all of my family and friends, I would have to say losing my memory. Then again, if I lost that I wouldn’t know it so, yeah, I will go with losing my friends and family, but still having my memory.

Who do you most admire?

I am going to have to go with my parents. They have worked/do work very hard, and, although things don’t always go as planned, they are always in good spirits and make me laugh even when things are not going well. They have always been there for me, my sister, and countless others.

What is the quality you most like in people?

A person with a great sense of humor. Life is more often than not stressful with many obstacles to deal with. I really admire someone that can look at the humor in pretty much anything.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

I have major issue with people that are unable to follow through with things they have committed to. When a person is very casual about not following through with things just because they are “not feeling it,” it really boils my blood.

What do you most value in friends?

When it comes to friends, I have always gone with quality over quantity. The friends that I surround myself with tend to be loyal, nonjudgmental, and fun-loving. When I have time to spend with my friends, I really value being able to kick back and laugh and have a nice time.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I would have to say that I am not a follower. For one reason or another, I have always leaned toward doing what I feel is best and what I enjoy, not what “everyone else” is doing. Not to say that this has not got me laughed at and oftentimes ended up isolating me from certain groups, but I feel it’s a better than being a sheep.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Actually, I am pretty sure I use the word “actually” too much. When it comes to overused phrases: “six of one, half dozen of the other” is my go-to: Just ask my wife.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to master most languages. Being able to understand and communicate with everyone would be very beneficial.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I could say I would like to be a bit taller, in better shape, etc. However, when I really think about it, I would probably want to make myself a little less trusting of anyone I meet. I have gotten better over the years but still need to work on that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My almost 10-year marriage to my wife would have to be my greatest achievement to date. Without her, the business we run and most other things in my life would not be possible.

Where would you most like to live?

For the most part, I am pretty much living where I most want to live. Visiting? Now that is a long list, but Santa Barbara has been my favorite place to live to date.

What is your most treasured possession?

My sense of humor. I feel that if I ever lose that, it will mean I am a very unhappy person, and I don’t ever want to end up like that.

Who makes you laugh the most?

My wife. And no, she is not standing behind me making me say this. We spend a lot of time together, and she often makes me laugh. With her, of course, not at her … well, maybe sometimes at her.

What is your motto?

“Always look on the bright side of life.” Reference: Monty Python.


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