You deal with a lot of surprises as a Chauffeur. Some are positive and some not so much. Both types keep me on my toes.

Unpleasant Surprises

Every single day, I encounter unpleasant surprises at the hands of incompetent and selfish drivers. These unpleasant surprises are usually the result of careless, dangerous, distracted driving.

One of my “favorites” is the driver approaching Newark Airport in the far-right local lane of Route 78 eastbound. I’m just to their left. At the last possible minute, this clueless driver cuts left across three lanes without looking, with no warning and no turn signal. I slam on the brakes to avoid a 50-mph collision.

This has happened to me so frequently that I expect it and I now use the far-right lane and keep vehicles in front and back of me by at least 50 feet.

Unscheduled construction that results in street closures with no warning and no apologies is also a surprise. This is why I always allow more time to reach a destination than my original map route estimates.

Non-Tippers

One ironic surprise occurs when passengers decide to tip me on top of the gratuity already baked into the ride. I find that people with lower-level positions are the ones who most often add in the extra tip. It’s always a very pleasant surprise.

Strangely, multi-millionaire CEOs rarely give an extra tip. I never expect one, so it’s not as if I’m disappointed. This is simply an observation, and a little surprising.

Recently, I drove a woman and her two children from New York to Newark Airport. There must have been 20 bags I loaded into my SUV, many of them back-breakingly heavy. By the end of the ride, I was exhausted and sore. No tip. Oh well.

Pleasant Surprises

Often, I encounter a new passenger – a new friend – in addition to the person I have driven in the past, which that translates into a pleasant surprise. On two separate rides, I had the pleasant surprise of having a furry friend as a passenger. It’s no secret that I love dogs. They all go to Heaven!

I drove a family who was participating in the U.S. Open tennis tournament with their Weimaraner(German hunting dog). We stopped at Shake Shack and they treated me to a double cheeseburger with fries. Yum, that was a great surprise!

Another time, I drove a group of four people from their home to a restaurant and back. No heavy bags or impossible strollers to squeeze into my car. I just waited three hours for them to enjoy their dinner. After I dropped them off in East Hampton, the host handed me a $100 bill for a tip. Nice!

The moral of this Street Story is this: No matter how being a Chauffeur might throw you surprises, don’t sweat it and just enjoy the ride!

RH Stovall, Jr
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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