DOWNTOWN — The CEO of Virgin Group Ltd. had an epic day off Thursday that would make Ferris Bueller jealous.
A series of promotional events across Chicago for "Richard Branson's Day Off" culminated with a traffic-stopping parade that included a singalong led by Sir Branson himself.
The mogul recreated the famous "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" scene where Matthew Broderick lipsyncs "Danke Schoen" surrounded by dirndl-clad dancers.
The stunt drew onlookers starting at 12:15 p.m. Thursday to the corner of Wabash Avenue and Lake Street, where Branson, like Bueller, finished his performance with a rendition of "Twist and Shout."
The women performing with Branson are dancers from Perfection Dance Artistry and Company based in Palos Heights. They said after the stunt that they were told they would perform with "a celebrity" during rehearsals, but didn't find out who the guest star was until the English businessman and investor jumped onto the float.
Dancer Hannah DeWild, 11, was literally swept off her feet by the billionaire, who flipped her onto his Tesla that was driving next to the float.
"I was like, 'whoa!' I didn't know he was going to do that," DeWild said. The performers all joked afterwards that they would add their surprise performance with Brason to their resumes.
The company's first Virgin Hotel opened in January at 203 N. Wabash Ave. Branson said at the time that he chose Chicago out of six available cities to house his flagship hotel after he "fell in love with [the Old Dearborn Bank Building] almost immediately."
Other events in Branson's "Let's Play Hooky" hotel promotion this week included a stop by the United Center for Wednesday's Bulls game, where Branson was catapulted into a giant set of bowling pins between plays.
For comparison, here's a clip of the original movie scene that inspired Thursday's stunt:
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