One of this weeks fares was two ladies, one was elderly and in a wheelchair and the other was able bodied and in her early 50s. I picked them both up from a house in the Town Centre and took them home where upon asking for the fare of £4.20p I was given a £10 note and told to take £7 out of it.
What a generous tip I thought to myself and it was too. I got £7 for a £4.20p fare. I opened the boot of the car and removed the ladies wheelchair. She didnt need it for short distances as she could walk a little bit so her friend insisted on taking the wheelchair in so in effect all I had to do was put in in the boot of the car and take it out at the destination and this earned me the tip.
The elderly lady thanked me for taking her wheelchair and went on to tell me that she felt a burden to people and always paid the extra for drivers to carry her wheelchair. She said she knew she didnt have to pay the extra but felt guilty if she didn't as the drivers are so helpful.
This got me thinking that its really nice to have praise for our drivers but why should an elderly disabled person feel compelled to give a large tip just because thet are in a wheelchair?
Its not right that they should feel like this and I suppose its down to the individual driver if they accept the tip. If you do accept it then you feel as if you've got extra because she is disabled. If you don't accept the tip then you offend the person that's giving it you, so you cant really win.
I just don't think its right that elderly or disabled people that need a little help from the driver should feel they have to tip a lot more as a way of saying thank you. After all, helping our customers in and out the car with or without any luggage is all part of the job description and people like this shouldn't have to feel compelled to pay more.
We don't charge any extra for wheelchairs and never will do. Its all part of the service that we provide. We look after the customer but some customers that feel they have to give a large tip because we took their wheelchair and helped them with it.
As in her words and not mine "You took my wheelchair and lifted it in and out the car for me and I feel guilty that you have to do this and I dont want to be a burden to anyone so please take it". were her exact words.
I didnt want to take the extra money after hearing this story and tried to give her it back but she insisted and told me that if I didn't take it then she would feel guilty about asking for my help.