The Branson Effect?

I’m not too happy about the comparison. After all, my supposed doppelganger is 12 years my senior. But if it amuses the vendors of Barbados, then I’ll just have to put up with it.

“Look, look! It’s Richard Branson,” said one, as I got out of my car.

Barbados Richard Branson

Arthur Smith – serving laughter with his paw paw…

I turned around to check whether the Virgin tycoon was nearby. And then the penny dropped. He was referring to me – the Barbados Richard Branson.

Coconut Water with a Smile

Only last week another vendor was also helpless with laughter when I pulled up in my car to buy some locally grown fruit.

“Oh Lord, it’s Richard Branson,” said Arthur Smith, the latest to join in the fun.

Arthur sells paw paw, aka papaya, at the Warrens roundabout ($10 for two – very good value and very, very tasty by the way).

He was still smiling when I drove off.

Bajans have a great sense of humour and most want to share their laughter.

Maurice put down the cutlass he was waving, worried he might do some damage now he had a fit of the giggles.


Maurice supplies lovely coconut water (always with a smile) from the roadside at Top Rock, Christ Church. “How ya doin’ Richard?” he laughed. 

 Jonathan Smith
Barbados Richard Branson
Richard Branson

However, I think I look nothing like Branson – but you can make up your own mind.

The confusion could be down to the cross-race effect. Scientists say this phenomena, also known as the other-race effect, where humans tend to think people of other races look alike, is caused by familiarisation of those within their own racial group.

White people do it to black people and Asians. Asian people do it to white and black people. And so on. 

Interestingly the more someone mixes with people of another race, the better they are at telling individuals apart.

Which is great news and a real recipe for racial harmony.

So, the more time we spend with people from other races the better we get to know them. Not rocket science, but science nevertheless.

But this Barbados Richard Branson is not best pleased at the vendors’ error.

For one, the real Richard Branson never seems to miss an opportunity to put on a skirt.

And when I fly Virgin Atlantic, being no billionaire, I always turn right (into Economy) rather than left into Upper Class, on boarding VS030 at Grantley Adams International Airport.

If only the stewardess at the door, whose uniform the other Branson is so keen on wearing, would make the same mistake as those Barbados vendors. I could do with an upgrade.

Definitely Richard Branson
Barbados Richard Branson

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