The Scientist and the Chauffeur

[I first heard this story in a speech by Jerry Clower.]

A famous scientist was often called upon to give his signature lecture, and he had a chauffeur who drove him to his engagements. The chauffeur would always come in, sit at the back, and listen.

One day, the scientist was speaking at a place where no one had ever seen him before, so the chauffeur proposed a switch. “Why don’t we trade clothing,” the chauffeur said, “and I’ll deliver your lecture?  I’ve heard it enough times I feel pretty confident that I can give it as well as you can!”  The scientist agreed to the switch.

The chauffeur did a brilliant job while the scientist sat in the back of the room in the chauffeur’s uniform. After he concluded, however, there was time for questions and answers. The first question was highly technical, and, of course, the chauffeur had no idea what to say. Without missing a beat, however, he simply said, “That question is so elementary I think I’ll allow my chauffeur to answer it.”