It is a pity that many chauffeur driven car owners fail to think that the person behind the wheel driving the car has, in addition to the steering in his hands, the precious lives of his passengers travelling in it and also that of others out on the roads. Many backseat drivers reckon that the driver in front is just another working part of the vehicle, not having a soul, and that he can be trod on like the accelerator or a brake.
A senior executive known to me who has the same driver serving him faithfully for more than twenty five years gives this advice to others who look for a driver who will love to serve. Planning is the watch word. When the driver calls on to collect the keys in the morning, allow at least fifteen minutes for him to clean the car. Besides it is difficult to gun a cold engine, certain models showing a hesitance to wake up, unwilling to give up the safety of the confines of the cozy car shed. The driver has to coax and run the engine for a while. It helps to brief him on Monday mornings the schedule of that week, the trips to be made out of the city and to the airports or railway stations, the functions to attend that may demand his early arrival or staying late. This will make him plan his week in advance. It is barbaric to hop into the car and declare, “we’ve to go to Bangaluru. And return late night. I forgot to tell you about it yesterday.” Pardonable only if that trip is the result of an emergency call.
The trip to point A to point B can be made through route C or route D or even E. Avoid the continuous bickering if he had chosen route C, much against your preferential route D, as he might know better about the roads that are suddenly made one way by the police or the dimensions of the ditches, potholes and craters various public utility services have embellished the roads on that route with. The drivers get such tit-bits from their cronies while waiting.
Plan the purchases you bid the driver to make. Do not make him drive to the market in heavy traffic just for a clutch of coriander or curry leaves that would cost less than the fuel you bought paying through the nose.
It pays to take care of him. Allow him enough time to eat his meal without keeping him in suspense when he will get that break. Like the fuel tank should not be dry empty so is his tummy. Make sure he has a mobile phone to have a two- way contact especially when the parking lot is streets away. A driver who didn’t enjoy forty winks the previous night is a passport to the world hereafter. Humanize his working conditions. A good driver in the long run becomes an aide, purchase man, a cycling instructor to the kids, news source, handyman, tourist guide and so forth — even a valuable friend.
With years of loyal service and privy to loud conversations inside the car among family members, he can give an angle that may lead to a solution to a knotty problem. This, applicable to a mere mortal, would be multifold in effect, as it happened in the case of the confused Arjuna in the back seat who listened to Lord Krishna, his chariot driver, in Kurukshetra.