It starts with an honest invite. “Hey, you live close to where I live, you can ride with me.” Sometimes it’s out of boredom from what’s on the radio or the old CD collection. “Yes, good to talk to someone while I drive.” But soon–play Psycho theme–you realize your supposedly temporary companion has gotten fond of the free ride. He begins to treat your car as his, he appears out of nowhere to just to ride with you. He becomes your nightmare. You begin to pray he’s not around. You begin to escape and evade–often futile. The woes of carpooling.
All is not lost, however. If you are among those who benefit from carpooling and sooner or later feels that your driver are making up alibis to ditch you, I suggest following some courtesy to redeem yourself. (Trust me, drivers like me, will start to like you around again.)
1. Offer to pay for gas every now and then. Yes, do not abuse your driver’s goodwill because at some point he will start to think, “What’s in it for me?” The answer at the very least is: gas.
2. Ask permission. Not all the time that the owner of the car can accommodate you. Just like how he gets bored with radio shows, he also gets bored having someone tagging along. Especially for free. So a short SMS from you and an affirmative answer from him guarantee a guilt-free ride.
3. Be infrequent. So you decide not take part in the gas expenses. Fine. But please make sure that you do not expect to ride along for free on a regular basis. That’s rude. In this case, riding only twice a year is perfect.
4. Be observant. Drivers have moods so be sensitive. If they get chatty, talk. If you receive a short answer for a long question, pipe down or better yet sleep. And if they start turning the car stereo’s volume up, do not compete with it.
5. Do not slam the door. In carpooling, the last impression lasts so how you exit the car matters. Not slamming the door is already like a mutual thank you.
(Drafted this while at a Honda car dealership. I got new brakes. Might use this to encourage seat belt use–of free riders.)
Mood: 1/10 Honks! (It’s been a long time since I took a leave on a Friday. TGIF.)