Smiley Ridesharing: Service

Smiley Ridesharing: Pretrip Mental Checks and 5 Star Service (PMCS)

In the last post we spoke about weather and how in Missouri we can experience four seasons in a week. We were pretty pleased with yesterday’s shift. The conversations, the driver tips, and our own self-checks and balances were very helpful and the feedback on our service reflected this.

Michael and I are heading out for an eight hour shift today. While Michael would normally have class, his professor emailed that he was sick and that class is canceled, so that freed up the evening for us to go to work. Michael is working towards making the March payment on White Lightning (his nickname for the van). Michael has his seatbelt and his smile on, so he’s ready to see where the evening takes us.

Smiley Ridesharing: XL Justice, Love, and Mercy

Our first trip of the day was a gentleman who works at home. He was really appreciative that Uber is here. He’s looking forward to the day that we are able to operate with the full protection of the law.
Michael is eager to be able to fully pit his service against anyone. May the best service and the best price win!

Our next ping was for an XL trip, which is always exciting. (For those of you who are not familiar with rideshare driving lingo, an Uber XL means that you can carry six passengers as opposed to the normal four passengers. Naturally, drivers also make extra money from XL trips, so they’re great to get.) Unfortunately, we were about three minutes from pulling up to the destination when the rider canceled the trip. Michael was disappointed, but there will be more pings, and cancellations sometimes happen.

Disappointments are a part of life, and that’s part of why we work so hard to maintain a positive mindset. Being able to bounce back from a disappointment to provide five-star service to every passenger is a vital part of our mission. There will be other passengers and other opportunities to connect, so we won’t give in to despair over one canceled trip. 🙂

Our positive attitude paid off, because our next ping was another XL trip! Our riders were from the UK and Switzerland, and their employer has them working in St. Louis right now. They were on their way to see the Blues play.

Smiley Newsflash: Rideshare Driving is Sales

Part of what we talked about with those riders was sales and the idea that the sale is made when the customer feels that they’ve been listened to. May people talk, but you’ve truly mastered the art of communicating when you’re actively listening as well as talking.

Michael was feeling down just a second ago. He felt like he was working just to live instead of living and working. Fortunately, he got a ping from a rider who was a fellow student of the St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. When Michael came to St. Louis in 2011, he was homeless. As soon as he was able to get housing, he started his education journey at SLCCFP. Michael graduated with his Associate’s degree in 2014 before moving on to UMSL, but he still maintains close ties to SLCCFP. Michael credits SLCCFP as a place that gave him the opportunity to continue to grow both personally and professionally after his arrival in St. Louis.

Smiley St. Louis: Home and Making Connections

Our rider was struggling internally and questioning whether or not continuing his education was the right choice, so Michael shared his own story of coming to St. Louis and overcoming adversity to pursue his dream of becoming a psychologist. When we dropped the rider off, he was feeling much more positive about his choices and ready to keep working towards his goals.

Another thing about Michael’s story that he likes to share is this: Even when he was homeless, he never went hungry. St. Louis has its faults, but it also has many warm and caring citizens who believe in helping others. There was always a soup kitchen or place to eat, and there were agencies that that helped him find accommodations off the street. Michael does his best to spread the positivity that was shown to him when he first arrived in St. Louis. He believes in paying it forward to honor those who helped him when he needed it most. Even when he only has one dollar, Michael shares it with someone else who needs it, because he has faith that the Lord will provide for him if he does his part to help others. It doesn’t matter what the person in need spends the money on—what matters to Michael is helping where he can.

Smiley Ridesharing: Grace and Gratitude

Our next passenger took a while to warm up to us, but once they found some common ground, they had a lot to talk about! It’s also funny how when Michael shares his story of how we got to St. Louis and where he is now, a lot of people are surprised. There’s an old saying, “There but by the grace of God go I,” and people often apply it to those who have made choices that landed them in a bad situation. However, you never know what choices people might make in the future, and the homeless person you see today might be your boss one day…or they could be driving around providing you safe, comfortable five-star service!

Michael has been getting pings for short trips in this part of the evening, and they’ve all be quite enjoyable. Most of the riders are very happy to have rideshare here in St. Louis, are happy people, or are just happy in general. They’ve all had stories to share, and we had a great time hearing them!

Our last passenger of the evening got accepted into Washington University Law School, and he was in St. Louis for orientation. He said that if it wasn’t for rideshare, he wouldn’t even consider going to school here in St. Louis. Rideshare apps like Uber allow him to be able to get his education here in St. Louis without having to worry about owning a car. He also expressed dismay that the Missouri legislature was taking such a long time to pass the law that would allow rideshare apps to operate statewide.

Smiley Ridesharing: Tray tables and Seat backs

How do you feel about the delays in the passage of the law or about our legislature in general? Let us know in the comments!

Maintaining a positive outlook isn’t always easy. Towards the end of our evening, Michael hit an emotional wall that brought his spirits down a bit. Sometimes things happen that bring us down and make it hard to look on the bright side of life, but it’s important to keep on trying. Hope is sometimes the only thing that can keep a person from giving up on their dreams and goals. Shifting your perception to a position of hope and positivity doesn’t make your problems go away, but it does help you be able to keep your head up as you face the challenges on the road ahead of you.

I believe in all of you. Keep going out there and trying your best, and don’t lose hope!

Smiley Closing: Bed Time Stories

To close today’s blog, I want to share a story Rebecca told me. It was a fable that she had read as a child, so I’m relating it as Rebecca remembered it:

Once upon a time, a wise man lived in a hut near Kyoto. People would often come to him for advice on their way.

One day, a man stopped to speak with the wise man. He asked, “Will I find bad people in Kyoto?”

The wise man replied, “Oh, you’ll find bad people by the score!” and the man went on his way.

Some time later, another man came to see the wise man. “Will I find good people in Kyoto?” he asked.

“Oh, certainly!” replied the wise man. “You’ll find them by the score!”

After the second man left, a third man who had been eavesdropping on both conversations confronted the wise man. “What sort of game are you up to?” demanded the man. “You told the first man that he would find bad people in Kyoto, but you told the second person that he would find good people in Kyoto. Which statement was true?”

“Both were,” answered the wise man. “For you see, whatever you truly seek is what you will certainly find!”

Smiley Ridesharing: Service

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