From state labor rules to cannabis bans and LAX access, the Greater California Livery Association enjoys a golden chapter of regulatory successes.
I recently had a very unpleasant transfer from an airport to my hotel that made me realize the importance of using “mystery riders” or “secret shoppers” who can provide a detailed report about how your chauffeur performs.
I suppose things began to fail from the moment I arrived at the airport. I have always managed to find a chauffeur holding up a sign with my name on it as I walked into the baggage claim area. These meet-ups literally happen thousands of times per day without incident. This would not be my lucky day. In fact, things were about to get much worse. I had no luggage to wait for, so I just took a seat on a bench waiting for someone to show up.
As the luggage carousel came to a stop and all the people and luggage from my flight were gone, I called the company contracted to pick me up. They said they would have the driver call me right back. He did and he scolded me for being in the wrong place. He said he would come and get me. Well, gosh, I sure appreciated that since I was in the wrong place! I have purposely referred to him as a “driver” rather than a chauffeur as there is a distinct difference, and this was about to become nothing more than a glorified taxi ride.
As the driver approached me on foot in the terminal, he told me we would need to walk to the car. This too has become routine after 9/11, and I don’t mind a small walk, especially after being on a plane for hours. This walk was long as he left the car wherever he had been waiting. The heat radiated off the hot pavement as we walked to the car with the temperature hovering at 100 degrees. He unlocked the car using the key fob and told me to hop in the car while he loaded my single carry-on in the trunk. The acrid smell of cigarettes permeated the hot interior and two packs lay on the passenger seat. I buckled up in what felt like a convection oven and waited for the driver to have a quick smoke while I sweated my buns off.
Once he got in, he drove like Mr. Toad on the Wild Ride at Disneyland. He also vented about terrorists attacks having nothing to do with religion and everything to do with people overall. He asserted the people from “his country” should not be blamed for every terrorist attack simply because they come from that country.
“Anyone is capable of being a terrorist if they want to,” he said. My heart was pounding. I just wanted to get to the hotel. Whatever happened to the rule of remaining silent unless you are spoken to? Needless to say, I got a different service to take me back to the airport. Do you really know what your drivers are doing out there? You might want to consider offering a friend a free ride just for a little feedback.
PHOTO GALLERY: The Greater California Livery Association saw an outpouring of support for an evening of education and networking.
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