The following is a true story about a ride that hit a rough patch, but ending happily, with a satisfied customer.

Late Start

It was a Friday afternoon in July. I was on location 15 minutes early for my 3:00pm passenger pick up in a suburb of Philadelphia going to the Trenton Transit Station. I sent a custom text to my passenger, as I always do. He replied to say he would be 30 minutes late coming out. No problem… I love waiting time!

Under Promise Over Deliver

When my passenger came out to my car at 3:45, huffing and puffing, his first question to me was, “Will I make my 4:45 train?” Yikes! He was late, it was rush hour on a Friday afternoon and it was going to take at least an hour to get to our target. I replied, “The timing is very tight, but I’ll do my best to get you there safely.”

Trust But Verify

Ronald Reagan was wise to use this approach with the Russians. I apply this thinking in my life as well. But this time I trusted the map without verifying. My Bad!

As we approached our target, there was a street sign that showed Trenton to the right and Maguire Air Force Base to the left. The map directed me to turn left. I felt uneasy but trusted the map. Big mistake. Five minutes later, I double checked the map and found it had Maguire Air Force Base as the target. 

Why? There was a typo on the reservation that spelled “Stattion,” which must have thrown off the map.

I quickly alerted my passenger that we were rerouting and then did a fast, legal u-turn to get back on track.

Long story short, we made it to the Trenton Transit Station at 4:47 and my passenger was not happy because he missed his train. I asked him to text me when he got on the train.

Ten minutes later, he texted me this note, “I made my train!”

The morals of this story are: trust your map, but trust your gut more; take responsibility for your actions; and never let your passenger see you sweat!

Article by RH Stovall, Jr

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

See All Articles