Traveling is a tricky business when you are on your own and have little access to trusted advisors such as family and friends on hand to guide you with invaluable local knowledge. This is where I have found the rating services listed on portals such as Yelp can be an amazing traveler’s guide.
I’ve been roaming the globe since the age of seventeen. A large portion of the time spent was on walkabouts involving the companionship of me, myself and I. This at times placed me in the precarious position of needing to trust strangers to provide local advice on what service I should use.
During my recent trip to the USA, I found myself a little lost in L.A when I had to rely on motor vehicle transport as the primary source of travel. I stayed in Venice Beach where trains are non-existent, so the alternatives were buses or cars. I wasn’t keen on driving because my need would be infrequent, hence hiring a driver seemed to be the only sensible way to go.
Let’s segway quickly back to past experiences in my life where I have been held at knife point by a taxi driver, witnessed a person being beaten by a driver, had a cabbie nearly cause a collision because of reckless driving, and you may begin to understand my hesitation in hiring an ‘unknown’ driver in a foreign country. Gratefully, I am no longer as blind sided thanks to the relentless development of software and hardware technology that makes access to the internet an affordable mechanism for real time research. These days when all else fails I seek help from YELP to get myself connected with a well rated driver.
I know opinions are subjective and relative to an individual’s experience, hence the rating and comments need to be used as a guide rather than a source of truth for the services I am looking to engage. What I tend to look for are comments that lend themselves to the humanity of an individual. People are often too busy to comment or rate unless they have been inspired to do so.
The company that I chose to use was Sunshine Deluxe Transportation. They were listed on Yelp with a reasonable amount of positive reviews. It wasn’t as high as some of the others but what made them stand out to me was the amount of lengthy positive comments left by the people they had obviously inspired through their experience. It bodes well to have some-one so impressed with the service that they take the time to write a mini short story about it. This to me is a definite sign that there is a person or person(s) who held a position of heart and care in what they provided.
‘A family run business with heart .’
I had to do a few trips across to Calabasas from Venice Beach and then return. The hike was lengthy, and the traffic set to be awful at almost anytime of the day. I called a few of the higher star rated services simply based on numbers and then called Sunshine Deluxe Transport to see how they compare. The costs were all in the same ball park but the tone in Pedro’s voice, and his consideration to my circumstances sold me on engaging Sunshine Deluxe’s services.
“Sharing positive experiences is essential for sustainment of healthy competition.” ― Truth Devour
I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t led astray. The way he and his wife manage their business is nothing short of remarkable. By the third trip, I felt welcomed as a friend rather than a person who utilized a service. They were always ahead of schedule. The vehicles were immaculate not to mention that they were genuine people and great drivers. At one point Pedro was so concerned about my frequency of travel to these (unplanned) meetings that he suggested that it would be cheaper to hire a car. When I said I wasn’t keen on driving in the States, Pedro offered his time on a Sunday to teach me how to drive at no cost. I’m not sure about you, but it’s moments like these that invigorate my belief in the beauty of people. Experiences of unexpected kindness with no expectation of return is priceless to receive and worthy of special mention. Pedro, you are a beautiful soul. (Thank you).
‘Connecting to the community vibe’
Life has forever changed for those who leverage off the service recommendation sites such as Yelp. It provides a more even playing field for the lesser known businesses to be seen or at the very least gives them a chance to be considered based on their proven stellar quality of service. Platforms like Yelp offer the people’s voice an opportunity to guide. I for one have had less ‘incidents’ of bad service engagements occur since I began using these types of sites.
If you find yourself in a bind and don’t have a trusted source for something you need, my recommendation is Yelp for help. They have so far hit the mark on what is depicted by the comments, service descriptions and ratings. I am an advocate for the importance of people holding and sharing their experiences. It benefits the businesses that provide exceptional service and encourage them to continue to do so. It’s a win, win for all. Oh and when you are in the Santa Monica area needing a ride, call Sunshine Deluxe Transport, you won’t be disappointed.
Happy and safe travels to one and all.
Blessings – Truth Devour