Loyalty is an essential quality in any relationship. It’s a strong assurance of another person. Whether it be in work, business, family, friendship or a relationship, loyalty builds from specific characteristics. Just because someone is a family member, neighbor, friend or business associate does not mean that they will be loyal. Ideally, we wish that were true, but for now loyalty must be earned. I want to relay a story of a person I recently met a person with loyalty that I have rarely seen.
I utilize car services for private transportation in NYC all the time. I use the services of many different dispatch bases because I enjoy trying out which I like the best and understanding the reasons why. The goal of taking private for-hire transportation is also to get from “Point A” to “Point B”, typically in the fastest amount of time and surely in the safest manner. But to me, there is more to it than just speed and price.
I always talk to the drivers who transport me in NYC. I talk to them because I want to know where they came from, how did they come to drive a for-hire vehicle for a living, do they own the vehicle or rent it from a leasing company, how has the industry changed since Uber and Lyft came to town and what would they like to see changed the most about the industry. I also ask how long they have been affiliated with the car service. I do this because I like to learn about the person whom I am entrusting my safety with. I do this because I genuinely care about the plight of the for-hire vehicle driver. Also, I like to learn more about the dynamics of the marketplace from the perspective of the driver.
Carmel Car and Limousine Service is one of the oldest car services in NYC, having provided service to the city’s residents and visitors for 35 years. Carmel has a loyal customer base that use them primarily because they provide a reliable service that most companies simply cannot do anymore. Carmel was around long before Uber and Lyft and has kept up with changes in technology by providing its customers with a smartphone application just like Uber and Lyft and in many ways, one that is better than Uber and Lyft. Just about every NYC resident knows how to get in touch with Carmel. It is not too hard to remember 666-6666. I know that if I call Carmel, someone will pick up the telephone. If I wanted to get in touch with someone at Uber or Lyft, I would not even have the slightest clue how to reach them, other than perhaps via e-mail, only hoping for a response. When I speak to drivers affiliated with Uber and Lyft, most are not happy as they can barely make enough money to make ends meet. Also, they don’t like providing “taxi-like” jobs.
Last night I worked late and wanted to take a car back home to New Jersey. While speaking to a business associate, I pulled out my iPhone, used the Carmel app and booked a trip. All this was done in 2 minutes without missing a beat from the conversation with my business associate. I was not even done with my brief conversation when the car arrived. As is typical, I spoke to the driver on my ride home and asked how long he has been a Carmel affiliate. He told me that he was the 6thperson to be affiliated with Carmel. He said he has been accepting dispatches for trips from Carmel since 1985. I found this to be astounding. I then took a moment to look around the car and found it to be clean and tidy. The driver was courteous by asking if the air conditioner was too high or low, as he would be happy to change it to my liking. Not surprisingly, I found the driver to be attentive and driving in a safe manner. I asked the driver why he has remained affiliated with Carmel for so long. He told me because when he has questions, issues or problems, no matter what they are, he knows he can go to upper management at Carmel and he will receive not only a warm welcome but a response and satisfactory resolution. The driver said he knows he will not get that type of professionalism from any other car service. In a nutshell, this long-time driver was loyal. A quality rarely seen these days in business and certainly not typical in the for-hire vehicle industry. Most drivers change their affiliation quicker than some people change their underwear. I was honored to be a passenger in this driver’s car.
Since I know Dr. Avik Kabessa, the long-time CEO of Carmel, I decided to call him to see if he knew this driver. After a short discussion with Avik, I told him the name of the person who was driving me home and asked if he knew this driver. Avik immediately said of course I do, as he has been one of our longest affiliated drivers. Avik assured me I would be well taken care of. I know Avik to be one the most, if not the most, honorable, honest and loyal person I have ever met. It then occurred to me that I just encountered something astounding. True loyalty. A genuine loyal relationship. Not fake loyalty because of obligation or the need to retain some perk or benefit, but real loyalty. Something rare these days indeed. After I got off the phone with Avik, the entire experience made me think about what loyalty really is.
A truly loyal person will be loyal because they want to. A loyal person will reach out to you when you need them. They care enough to stay aware and take action when they know you need a pick-me-up, or just a little reminder to stay on track. A truly loyal person is always sincere. They show very subtle, yet powerful signs that they care. You’ll find that they are faithful in a way that they show up during the good times and the bad times. Loyal people are supportive (even loving) for no other reason than that they care. Personal loyalty is displayed through love, devotion, dedication and commitment to the well-being of another.If there were more loyalty in the world, I truly believe the world would be a better place to live in.
When the car arrived at my home, the driver got out and opened the door for me. He shook my hand and said it was a pleasure to speak with me and to take me home. I told him that it was my pleasure to meet him. I also told him I admire his loyalty to Carmel and hope to be given the opportunity to have him be my driver again in the future.
I am mindful that we are all a work in progress. We can all strive to be better in the areas of personal devotion, dedication and commitment to the well-being of another. It’s not up to us to judge or be harsh to those that aren’t – there’s a good chance that deep down inside of each one of us, a desire to be loyal and have loyalty shown resides within.