Close shave 77 with a falling banner

Richard Branson speaks at a podium for the launch of Virgin MiamiCentral
Image from Virgin Trains USA
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 22 April 2019

In Finding My Virginity, I shared 75 close shaves I have experienced - the moments when I’ve nearly lost my life during all sorts of wild adventures, from ballooning to diving, skydiving to sailing. I had to add another when Hurricane Irma hit the BVI and a one tonne bath flew and crashed right where I had been sat. Well, it’s time to add number 77…. I was in Miami recently to unveil Virgin MiamiCentral and share the first visuals for Virgin Trains USA, the newest member of the Virgin family. After some speeches and a toast, we wanted to officially declare our new hub for all things transportation, leisure and business in downtown Miami open.

It was my job to pull away a banner cover weighted with a metal bar, which was hiding Virgin Trains USA’s new brand identity. The team had diligently safety checked everything and were confident we were good to go. But suddenly the wind increased and when i pulled on the chord, I realised the banner cover with its metal bar was much heavier than I had realised.

As you can see in this video, it came mighty close to crashing down on my head. From where the crowd was standing it looked absolutely fine, but from my angle it was a very close call indeed! Thankfully no harm was done and we went on to have a delightful day, riding the train, serving tea on-board and meeting with our team and customers.

The incident reminded me of an amusing advertisement Virgin Atlantic created back in 1997, showing a man who is about to be hit and killed by a falling statue. As the grim reaper waits beside him the man’s life flashes before his eyes. As he has had such an exciting life (due to plenty of travelling with Virgin Atlantic!) the grim reaper has to wait so long that he falls asleep, and the man escapes. It won a Golden Lion at Cannes and raised lots of smiles.

Video from The Hall of Advertising

I hope I’m going to keep the grim reaper waiting for a while yet!