People

How to Stand Out as a Chauffeur

LCT Staff
Posted on March 2, 2009

ATLANTA -- Traffic? What traffic? As far as Gary Weaver is concerned, there’s always a way out of a jam.

Learning the city’s back roads and byways has become an obsession for Weaver, who moved to Atlanta in 1980 and took a job with a limousine company.

“I learned very quickly that you have to have a plan A, B and C,” Weaver said. “You have to have two or three routes to choose from. And you have to know when to avoid the interstates and where there are shortcuts.”

In the course of his limo gig, Weaver also got a crash course in Atlanta destinations.

“I really learned the city — the restaurants, the office parks, the airport,” Weaver said.

In 1988, Weaver, 55, went to work as a concierge for the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. After a few months, he transferred to the hotel’s transportation fleet as a driver. Since then, he’s garnered a reputation among guests as the go-to guy when you want to find a late-night dining reservation or see the sights on a private city tour.

Just where he may go on any day is up to the guests and their requests. A morning may be spent picking up customers at the airport; an afternoon may be booked with a customized tour of antique shops or historic sites.

“I love taking guests to various antique shops, so I can go in with them and learn the product and the shop owners,” Weaver said. “I even get to make a lot of day trips: I’ve been to Asheville, Augusta, Columbia, Chattanooga, Birmingham, Savannah — anywhere the guest wants.”

Weaver’s willingness to do whatever it takes to make guests feel at home has earned him a stellar customer service reputation. He frequently brings the room keys and checks guests in from the front seat of his car so they can go right to their room. He’s been known to call ahead and arrange restaurant reservations or room service before guests arrive. He now has his own following of loyal customers who call him directly to arrange transportation. Though the hotel has a fleet of limos and Lincoln Town Cars, Weaver’s wheels of choice are those on the Mercedes with the reclining rear seats. “I drive that more than my own car — about 20,000 miles a year,” he said.

For Weaver, not knowing where each day will take him makes life an exciting challenge.

“I love that every day, every hour is different,” he said. “I don’t keep a 9 to 5 schedule: I could start at

7 a.m. or 10 a.m. and could go until 11 p.m. And along the way, I am fortunate to meet and relate to all kinds of people. I’ve never had a bad trip in 20 years.”

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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