Pat J. spent the first 81 years of her life living in and around the city of Chicago. There she raised six children who are as devoted to her as she is to them. Now she heads up a large family that is scattered literally from Maine to California and includes 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
Several years ago, when Pat was the only family member still living near Chicago and had fallen a couple of times, she agreed that it was no longer wise for her to live alone. She chose to move in with her youngest daughter Kate in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Because both Kate and her husband Steve work full time—and daughter Madeline is a full time student—they all knew they would need a transportation solution to prevent Pat from feeling isolated in a strange city.
They chose to join Riders' Club Cooperative, which offers its members "Transportation You Trust," a service designed to meet the needs of the very young, seniors and the disabled in our community. Pat soon learned that calling Riders’ Club for a reservation means talking with a live person who knows her name and is familiar with where she lives, but a transportation solution for Pat involves more than simple courtesy. She is grateful that all of her Riders’ Club drivers come right to the door of her house to meet her and take any packages she may have, while they assist her down the steps and over the curb into the car. “I cannot see steps, unless they have a yellow line painted on the edge: it just looks like a ramp to me.” There is a risk for Pat, even in trying to navigate the lobby of a large medical facility. “It is important for me to conserve psychic energy: I don’t want to spend energy being brave.” For important medical appointments Pat asks Riders’ Club to provide Escorted Transportation, so that the driver may accompany her during the entire appointment.
When the conversation turns to the subject of her favorite drivers—Arthur, Charlie, Gene and Rob--Pat just beams. The fact that Riders’ Club encourages its drivers to relate one-on-one to their riders has resulted in deep friendships. But Pat did not let the time of our conversation go by without specifically asking by name about two drivers she missed. One of them had been looking for a full time job in the education field, and another writes articles for a newspaper. “It must be unusual to find people who are considerate and are really tuned in to other people,” Pat muses.
It is a “huge relief” and a “great sense of comfort” to Pat’s busy family, composed of two working professionals and a full time student, to see Pat happy, well taken care of and safely able to manage her own schedule with the help of Riders' Club Cooperative. They all know her drivers and greet them by name, if they happen to be at home. Pat is delighted to see that her happiness “spills over” and—rather than being a burden to her daughter’s family—she affects the rest of the family in a positive way. Even Pat’s heavy schedule of medical and therapy appointments that keep her on the go three or more days per week, does not throw her busy family off track. Riders’ Club is able to step in to insure that Pat is transported “portal-through-portal” from home to every appointment and back without mishap.
“I think trust is the major part of the relationship I have with Riders’ Club,” Pat says. “No matter who the driver is, I know I will be well taken care of and I am not even afraid to use the elevator, when my Riders’ Club driver comes with me.” “When I ask my Riders’ Club driver to stay with me,” Pat says, “I call that ‘an investment in myself.’”
At the time of this interview, twenty-two members of Pat’s large family were planning to convene from all over the United States in North Carolina’s Outer Banks for a one week vacation. “I can’t wait!” Pat says, “You know we might not be able to do something like this again.” Of course Rob will be driving the Mt. Airy family to the airport, so that they will not have to rush and so they will save the money that would otherwise be spent on long-term parking.