The New York Times explores how people like Natalie Tyson, 24, get gigs driving in the presidential motorcade, as she did recently in San Francisco. A week before President Obama arrived in San Francisco, a childhood friend of Tyson who works at the White House reached out to her to see if she was interested in driving. “He just texted me and said, 'Do you want to volunteer as part of this and drive in the motorcade?' ” Tyson said.
Soon, she found herself driving a van filled with journalists 80 mph in the middle of the fastest, highest-profile chain of vehicles in the country. The Times questions whether drivers with no special training should be part of the motorcades. The Secret Service defended the practice, saying it has been standard since at least the 1980s. The Secret Service said volunteer drivers are briefed about emergency protocols, but Tyson said she had received little instruction. She did get a bump on Facebook after posting a photo standing beside Obama’s limousine, known as the Beast. It got “so many likes you wouldn't believe it,” she said.