Even though it was two years ago. Chuck Bradway still remembers how it felt to pick up a seven-year-old girl named Kelly in a limousine on her return home from Walt Disney World. The trip had been arranged through the Make-A-Wish Foundation which makes such adventures possible for terminally ill children. “She had a wonderful smile on her face as she carried a big stuffed Minnie Mouse from the plane to the limousine,” he recalls.
“Kelly had a heart condition and her doctors weren’t sure she would survive the trip,” he continues, “but she was a real trooper. She was too ill to travel on a scheduled flight, so a local union arranged for her to fly on a private jet.” Kelly survived the trip, and had the time of her life, but lost her battle a few weeks later Kelly’s trip was one of hundreds of limousine rides provided each year through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and other similar organizations such as The Starlight Foundation and the Corporate Angel Network. Most of these trips are provided at no charge by livery operators. In areas where there is a particularly heavy demand for trips, some operators charge discounted rates to partially cover their costs.
Livery operators are subject to requests for support by many charitable and community organizations. Two operators with fleets of ten vehicles recently told me that they contribute more than $1,000 per month in time, money, and service to charities and community activities. If you estimate that every ten vehicles in this industry generate even half this much for charity each year, the annual contribution by this industry is a remarkable $24 million.
We believe the livery industry is a natural partner for these organizations. Trips can usually be scheduled to avoid busy times. The value of service contributed is tax deductible and the satisfaction is guaranteed to make participation worthwhile.
Charitable activities were much less common in the limousine industry when L&C began publication in 1983. This development is one of the measures of our industry’s maturation and integration into the communities we serve. We encourage livery operators to become even more involved in charitable activities, and we encourage the National Limousine Association and regional limousine associations to monitor and publicize the significant contributions made by members of this industry.