THE DRIVER PSYCHE

The psyche or inner mind of the driver population always intrigues me. It isn’t that their impulsive or compulsive behavior is any different than your average human, but how it factors into a transportation provider. Case in point, a hit and run. Happens all the time. Likely accidental, could be alcohol related, driving while texting, or even alluding the police.

This past week in Chicago, a 22-year-old young man was riding his bike down the street and was hit by a car. The driver did not stop, did not summon help, he left and left quickly. What fascinated me was this was a gainfully employed man. Fully licensed, fully insured, on the way home from work.

He did not aim for this kid; it was an accident. Accidents happen. What causes someone to convert a hit to a hit and run? The answer is impulse. Impulsive actions are related to compulsive actions, and are second cousin to liars.

Another current popular impulse are athletes who may get a minor brush from an opposing athlete and overcompensate instantly with a dramatic exaggerated fall or fake injury. Google says this is to influence the referee to sanction or penalize the opposing player.

At 100am I confirmed Jose Cuervo was awake. He had a 200am not far from his home. He is a good driver, a bit older, and has a very slow motion demeanor. At 205am his party calls screaming. This is where we meet impulses cousin compulsive. Where is my car, where is my driver? If I miss my flight the German’s will bomb Pearl Harbor and life as we know it will never be the same. There will be carnage of epic proportions.

I call Jose and ask where he is. All of sudden the slow speaking, slow moving gentleman goes into full blown impulse mode. I have 3 flat tires, my house is on fire and my cat died. Jose, I say quietly, “Give me your ETA.” He pauses, catches his breath, and says, “8 minutes.” I say, “Push It.”

I get back on the line with the client and say, sorry for the delay. Your driver will be there in less than 10 minutes and we will make the time up in transit.

Another favorite is when the client calls asking for status. While they are on my headset I call the driver from another phone. I ask his status and simultaneously while he says I have been here 15 minutes the client says he is pulling up now.

You would think just once a driver could answer and say, “Oh Lord, I overslept, so sorry, I forgot to set my alarm. I will forgo getting fully dressed to save time, tell them 10 minutes.”

Actually, that scenario did occur once. It was late 1997…. but I digress.

Truth be told, Jose’s 8-minute ETA was false. It is part of the lie chain. The lie chain works like this: The client goes to the front desk at the hotel and tells the clerk his car is not outside. He goes back outside to wait and the front desk calls the limousine provider. The dispatcher hears his inquiry and puts him on hold to check the driver’s status.

In reality the driver is 21 minutes away. Technically 31 minutes because I am one of three people on planet earth that believe arrival time is 10 minutes minimally before pick up time.

Then the lie chain starts. The driver tells the dispatcher he will be there in 14 minutes because the bridge was out. The dispatcher tells the front desk clerk he will be there in 9 minutes because his dog was out of Blue Buffalo. The desk clerk summons the bellhop to go outside and tell the passenger he will be there in 3 minutes. The bellhop goes outside and tells the client, all is good, I understand you are already in the car.

If there was one lesson, I learned from Richard Nixon and Watergate.The crime was never the lie. It was the cover up.

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