Hollywood tour bus driver prays for the stars to come out
He prays behind the wheel to spot the likes of George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston or even Will Ferrell.
Baisa, a 61-year-old veteran of the tour bus scene with a neatly groomed salt-and-pepper mustache, knows what his passengers want during their two-hour journey through Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
Spotting stars means big tips. One day, after Ryan Seacrest stopped to chat with Baisa's busload of Girl Scouts, an adult chaperon dropped a $100 bill in his Dodgers cap.
On this afternoon, as his tour winds through Trousdale Estates, Baisa gets lucky.
"Oh my God!" one Australian tourist gushes. "Hi, David! Hi, David!"
"Yes, this is Hollywood, folks," Baisa says amid the heightened chatter and iPhone camera flashes. "Where the stars live, work and play."
It's a demanding life, Baisa says, an adrenaline rush, a frenzy of pickup, drop-off and bus changes. The days are never slow, and the competition is fierce.
No tourist wants to pay $45 for what ends up being little more than a pretty drive, he says, but celebrities are rare sights. He sees maybe five per month, working full time.
So on slow days, he embellishes.
He'll scan the palm-lined streets, hope for the best and point to random blonds: "Britney Spears!"
Read more about Baisa and how he carved out a niche on a Hollywood tour bus.
-- Danielle H. Paquette
Photo: Hollywood tour bus driver Don Baisa poses with some of his Tinseltown memorabilia at his one-bedroom duplex in Altadena. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times