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When the taxi that was supposed to drive Public Enemy to their show Saturday in Sheffield, England, left without them, 50-year-old photographer Kevin Wells offered the rap group a ride in his Ford Focus.
Wells was at a record shop getting a CD signed by the group when a member of the entourage announced they needed a ride to Sheffield Arena, where Public Enemy was set to open for The Prodigy in 45 minutes. Wells offered. They accepted.
"It was very, very surreal," Wells told the Guardian. "We all walked to the car --Flavor Flav, Chuck D and two of their entourage — and they all just piled in. I'm local to Sheffield so I know all the back streets to get there pretty sharpish, so I didn't feel too tense. I knew I could get them there in time."
Wells told The Sheffield Star that the group was friendly and polite during the 15-minute drive, chatting, joking ("We had a right laugh") and even head-banging along to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" when the song came on.
The only hitch came when the car pulled up to the arena and Wells told security that he had Public Enemy in the back.
"They looked at me a bit funny, as if to say: 'Yeah, right, we've heard that before,' " Wells told the Guardian. "But then Chuck D flashed his pass and the attendant looked flustered and said, 'Yes, I'm sorry, come through,' and he directed us to the backstage area."
Wells and the group exchanged hugs and handshakes, and Public Enemy offered him entry to the show as a thank-you. Wells had to leave to photograph an event, but that didn't dim his excitement about the close encounter with the famous group.
"They are my first famous passengers in my Ford Focus, but it's a good one to dine out on for a few years," Wells said.