Being a chauffeur for more than eight years has taught me the value of versatility. Versatility can be reflected in a variety of ways, from being open to change to considering various options, to preparing for unforeseen events.
Too Big to Break
A couple of years ago, I drove a passenger from his home to Newark Airport. At the end of our ride, he said, “I’d like to give you a tip, but I only have a $100 bill. Can you change it?”
I only had $20 in my wallet, so I unfortunately didn’t get a tip from him. Of course, I didn’t expect him to give me a tip for $80!
Cash is King
Just last month, an elderly woman told me she was going to pay cash for her ride. Usually, passengers pay the exact amount or close to it. This time, the woman gave me two $100 bills for a $128 fare. I told her I didn’t think she was going to give me $72 tip, so I gave her $70 back in cash (it was the best I could do). She gave me an additional $10 tip… Nice!
What would have happened if I only had $10 or $20 on me? I guess we would have needed to go to a store or bank to break one of the $100 bills, which would have been an enormous inconvenience for her.
A few years ago, I was in Manhattan, pulling up to park in front of a hotel in Midtown Manhattan. I got too close to a taxicab in front of me and I gently tapped his bumper.
The cab driver jumped out of his vehicle, saw I was wearing a suit and tie – and driving a nice, new car – and he immediately cried, “Oh, my back! I’m in pain! You hit me!”
I gave him a $20 bill and told him to shut up and get lost. He smiled an evil smile at me and jumped back into his cab!
The Value of Venmo
In early September, I drove a young man from his home in Central New Jersey to Newark Airport. At the end of the ride, he asked me if he could pay me through Venmo. I have an account, so I said yes. He sent $10 to my Venmo account. I think the cool way to say it is, “He Venmoed me $10.”
Add that new verb to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
In mid-October, I picked up a nice fellow in Suffern, NY and I was going to drive him to Newark Airport. He told me he liked my professionalism and wanted to give me a $40 tip. I did not object; I was happy to hear this.
Then he asked, “How do you want it?”
I asked him to clarify, and he said: “I’ll give you three choices: I can write you a check, or we can go to an ATM and get cash, or I can just Venmo you the money.”
I appreciated the wide array of choices he offered. I asked him what would be most convenient for him. He said, since we both had our phones at the ready, Venmo was the easiest and fastest option. So, “He Venmoed me $40.”
The moral of this story is to always to be flexible and roll with the punches. If you see the value in versatility and can solve a problem in a variety of ways, you will be ahead of the game. It also helps to have $100 in change in your wallet: $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s… to break $100 bills.