Being a good chauffeur requires a fair amount of detective work. Sometimes I feel like Sherlock Holmes.

Believe it or not, I have a magnifying glass in my vehicle, so I can read the fine print on instructions and special requests. I also have a spotlight and binoculars in my vehicle because some early mornings, it’s difficult to find house numbers and apartment numbers in the dark, or “black morning time,” as I called it when I was five years old.

There are so many things that need to be investigated and uncovered, and if I miss them, there can be consequences. There are so many details to look out for on the manifest when I am awarded a ride. The name and phone number of the passenger are important to know for texting when “on location.” The date and time of the ride are important to know, so I can arrive 15 minutes early for scheduled pickups.

Pressing “Map” or “Navigation” on the iPad, and then selecting “Pickup” or “Drop Off” helps me find my way to pick or drop off my passengers. Sometimes there are special circumstances or passenger requests. This must be investigated and addressed before picking up any passenger(s).

Wrong Gender

One day in early March 2017, I received a ride that had a special request. When I pressed the red button on my iPad, I saw that our client had requested a female chauffeur. Good thing I checked. I quickly alerted dispatch to ensure a female chauffeur picked up our VIP.

Car Seat Catastrophe

Since I get requests for car seats so frequently, I bought my own rear-facing infant sear, forward facing toddler car seat, and child booster seat. I did this so I don’t have to keep driving to the office to get one when I need it.

Since dispatch knows this, they will often send me rides requiring child car seats. It’s a nice little advantage.

In mid-July, I was en route to Newark Airport for a pickup with no special requests. Dispatch called me and asked if I had a car seat for an infant. I said no, but I could get one at home in 15 minutes.

The chauffeur originally assigned to this ride was already at Newark Airport but did not read the special instructions requesting a rear-facing infant seat – which he did not have in his vehicle.

Dispatch thanked me for grabbing the car seat and helping to avoid this potential catastrophe. The passenger was happy, too.

AM or PM?

Another critically important button to press on the iPad is “Flight Info,” for details on passengers’ departing or arriving flights.

One morning in mid-May 2018, I drove to a man’s home in Staten Island to pick him up and drive him to Newark Airport for (what I thought was) an 8:00am pickup. When I texted the man to let him know I was “On Location,” he opened his bedroom window and yelled, “You woke me up! The flight is tonight.” The reservation was for 8:00pm; not 8:00am. If I’d studied the flight information more carefully, I would not have made this mistake.

The moral of this Street Story is to be Sherlock Holmes on every ride. By doing this, you’ll avoid being embarrassed and frustrating your passengers.

Article by RH Stovall, Jr

R.H. Stovall, Jr. is a Senior Executive Chauffeur, trainer and mentor for Royal Coachman Worldwide in Denville, NJ.

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