Here's a little known fact about me. In the 1970s, I worked as a McDonald's manager. I'm not talking about a franchise. I'm talking about McDonald's Corp. or better known as McOpCo, McDonald's Operating Company, where managers are sent to Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Illinois to be educated in all things burger. Managers are ingrained with a culture that includes the old adage, “The customer is always right.”
I believed in that culture. I lived and breathed it. But, after 22 years in the livery business, I no longer support the theory or practice the theory. I spent way too many years driving drunk people, prom kids and disgruntled corporate employees who jaded me into believing people lie for their own advantage or simply can't remember what really happened because they were too drunk.
I've seen and heard the most bizarre claims from drunk clients that range from a male chauffeur stealing a female client's fancy Jimmy Choo high heels to a chauffeur hitting on a female client when she was intoxicated. The latter may be true on occasion but in the case of Cinderella missing her slippers at midnight, it turned out to be a case of another passenger taking the shoes for safekeeping. A follow-up apology call was received later that day.
In the latest round of what he (the chauffeur) said versus she (the client) said, I must scratch my head and wonder what really happened. In the emailed client complaint, the client says she directed her chauffeur to a second pickup location, and when they arrived, he sat in the driver's seat and allowed the second passenger to get her own door. She went on to say that after the incident he was profusely apologetic. Next she alleged when she came out of the concert she asked if they could go and get something to eat before going home and the chauffeur told her she had 15 minutes to get home or the ride was going to cost her more money as her pre-paid time was up. Really?
As we know, chauffeurs are paid by the hour and enjoy the financial reward of a run going over. The client had a credit card on file. The vehicle and chauffeur had no further assignments that night. He constantly begs for more hours. He had no early morning assignments. Why would he do this? Was he tired? Was he so tired that he couldn't be bothered with getting the door for a second passenger? A billion questions with no answers. It was time to call him in for a face-to-face sit-down.
Well, he said the client asked him to drive to the second pickup location and specifically told him she was calling her friend on the phone to come out and he should remain in the car until she comes out which might be a bit. He assumed they were parked in front of the house and he was watching the front door of the house. The second guest appeared on the driver's side of the limo after crossing the street from a house on the driver's side and opened her own door. He jumped out and apologized profusely for missing the door (just like the client said in her email) and they continued on.
At the conclusion of the concert, the client asked how much time she had remaining on her pre-paid charter. The chauffeur answered that she had gone over by 15 minutes but if she got home in the next 15 minutes there would be no additional charge due to our grace period. She then asked again if they could stop for dinner but added that she did not want to pay more money and maybe they could just stop for dinner somewhere without reporting the stop to the company. The chauffeur told her that was not possible and the billing would be based on GPS records of the vehicle and not his notes of the trip. She became angry that she couldn't get an extra hour for free and sent me her nice email about how horrible my chauffeur was, but added, "The car was nice.” Grrrrr. People!
Mini-Series Part 3: It was the perfect proposal inside a stretch limousine, full of rockin' romance. What could go wrong?
Driving Gem: Do your bus drivers know the 10, 15, and 70 hour rules of duty?
Mini-Series Part 2: Limousines might be good for weddings, but prove troublesome for popping the question.
Driving Gem: Do you know the size of your vehicle's sail area?
Mini-Series Part 1: A trailer park, curses, a tumbler of vodka, and a pack of beauties. Could anything go right about this trip?