I like making lemonade from lemons, using a little bit of sugar. What do I mean? Well, there have been some passengers in my past who were not too happy when they first got into my car – but I’m pleased to say that, after more than eight years and thousands of passengers, only one of them stayed unhappy.

Teterboro Tragedy

It was 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon. I was parked outside an office building, waiting for a passenger who had a 5:00pm pick up from mid-town Manhattan, going to Teterboro Airport in Moonachie, Woodridge, N.J.

I texted my passenger as I always do, to let him know that I was “On Location,” 15 minutes before the scheduled pick-up time. He did not reply to my text right away.

About 15 minutes after that, my passenger replied to my text, saying, “Running late. I’ll be down soon.”

Another 15 minutes went by, and he finally came out to my car, huffing and puffing and all disheveled. He looked like he was having a really bad day.

He stumbled into the back of my car and said, gruffly, “I need to be at Teterboro Airport in 30 minutes. My boss is waiting for me there on the plane.”

I politely told him that, according to my map and the current traffic conditions (Friday afternoon rush hour in New York City), it would take us an hour to get to Teterboro.

“Someone from your office told me it would take 30 minutes to get to Teterboro.”

I said: “If it were 12 hours from now (5:00am on Saturday morning), we could probably make it in 30 minutes, but not right now.”

I advised him to call his boss and tell him he’d be there in an hour. He grudgingly made the call.

We did make it there about an hour later and boy was he mad at me… but there was absolutely nothing I could do. Flying him to Teterboro in a helicopter unfortunately wasn’t an option.

Wrong Pick-Up Spot

Another time, I was parked on Madison Avenue to pick up a passenger who was staying at a hotel. I texted her but did not get a reply. I drove around the corner, hoping to find a bell hop. I found a door man, who told me to wait there on 50th Street. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about, so I complied.

Ten minutes later, the woman walked up to my car. I could see steam coming out of her ears. Boy, was she mad! I apologized for my error. I admitted fault and apologized for her severe inconvenience. She must have been expecting a fight, because my response totally disarmed her! She became chatty and friendly on the ride home, and she even gave me a $10 tip!

A Little Help Here

Another time, I was dispatched to a woman’s home to pick her up and bring her to a doctor’s appointment. She was clearly in a bad mood from the start, but I of course greeted her with a smile and introduced myself.

“Never mind the pleasantries,” she said. “I need a little help here, getting into your car.”

I ignored her sour attitude and continued being professional and pleasant. As we started our journey, I apologized if I did not help her fast enough. She said it was OK, and explained she was grumpy because she wasn’t feeling well. I told her that was fine, and we had a good ride the rest of the way.

The moral of this Street Story is to always be pleasant and professional, no matter what. Even if you don’t think your passenger’s inconvenience is your fault, apologize and take responsibility for the situation. Your passenger might change their attitude – which could end up turning lemons into lemonade.

Article by Black Car News

Black Car News provides breaking news, editorial, and information to drivers, owners, and other key players in the New York City for-hire vehicle industry.

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