Lex Petros: Take me home Alfred...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Take me home Alfred...

I think chauffeurs are as much connected to their bosses as ink is to paper.

Be it a status symbol, a position of necessity or simply a confidant on the move, your driver is very much the only person around you in that peak hour jam or that morning drive to work. He knows your routine and is sometimes, if not most of the time, privy to your conversations and deals. The only think you have is his implied trust to keep mum and your trust in him to take you home to wherever and then home again.

I took some time this evening to have a cuppa and ran into my colleague's driver sitting under the tea shack behind the office. I struck a topic about his former "drivees". He had so many who's commuted under his care, some nasty than nice and some who are mindlessly petty about going through potholes in the heart of PJ Old Town! From female executives who pays no attention to his driving mannerisms to their secretaries who think they now more than he does, respect for the man starts to grow as I realized how much he has to put up with.

A trusted chauffeur could be seen ferrying the family and wife, help run errands, even sometimes being entrusted with dispatch of sensitive material. Sometimes, the driver is the confidant you thought you never could have.

In Malaysia, most drivers are paid a 'minimum wage' somewhat with them tallying their monthly expenses with overtime claims and extras. It's appalling that some tears through the city in wanton recklessness when left alone with their employer's car, but apart from the few proverbial rotten apples I've learned that taking the wheel for someone entails a monumental humility and needing to engender the trust of his master.

So, today, I look up to the person who steps out to grab that door handle and asks "where to sir?"