(good bye Bandon, County Cork, Ireland)

Angry Auto Transport Customers and How We Learned to Empathize

The preconceived ideas left behind

Our trip to Ireland, the land of my husband’s family and the euphoric state we were still in was soon to end. Heading back home to our auto transport business had to take priority now. The memories we held in our hearts of the touch of our little granddaughter’s hand brought a smile to our faces. The thoughts of past times and people living in the monstrous castles of Ireland burned in our memory for good. Those preconceived ideas of old castles and life in Ireland were left behind.

Those were the good memories we brought back home with us. However, the trip was not over yet. The lessons we were about to learn would be way out of our comfort zone. We would soon find out that we did not know the true meaning of being humble. Do you find lessons in the oddest places too?

Heart-wrenching sad goodbye

Our flight out of the Cork airport left early in the mist of the morning. Unlike airports in the U.S.A., there are no services available when the first flights are boarding. Leaving our family and the lovely island of Ireland was hard enough, but without coffee, it was horrible.

Final hugs and kisses were flying all over the place as all three of us tried to get to our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law one last time before disappearing out the door to the tarmac for boarding. Tears froze on my cheeks as I tried my darnedest to hold the floodgate of tears back…it did not work. As you can imagine, the sleeve of my coat was sopping wet by the time we found our seats and buckled our belts.

As the plane took off, the landing gear lifted up into position, I caught one final glimpse of the emerald island before we disappeared into the billowing white clouds above. Just like that, our family and Ireland were behind us.

Connecting flight and customs

The route our return trip took us through was different from our trip to Ireland. Our connection was in Amsterdam, Holland instead of Paris, France. After having found our way around in Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, we thought it would be simple on the way home. Wrong.

Amsterdam is an international airport and larger than Charles De Gaulle, or so it seemed. Wandering through the large terminals we almost got lost. All of us were hungry and looking for the food court.

At that time of the morning, McDonald’s was not on our list of food choices. However, look as we might we could not find anything that remotely resembled an American breakfast. I am adventurous, but my son and husband are not. It turned out that we settled for a hot cup of coffee and a pastry or two.

Next, it was time to shop for souvenirs. Tulips are gorgeous and each dish came with its own soil just perfect to grow them indoors. Cute little wooden clogs painted white with tulips adorning the toes would serve quite nicely to prove we had at least been in the airport inside Holland.

The time came when we needed to locate our gate and get ready to board the plane for the long flight back to the U.S.A. This leg of the trip would take us through customs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As we rechecked, our baggage and entered customs the attendant flagged me over. I had no idea why they pulled me into the clearance area; nothing had changed since we left Ireland, or so I thought.

Do you remember the little bowl of tulip bulbs I purchased at the gift shop? The soil that came with the bulbs could not leave the country. Do you wonder why it is a set if it is not allowed out of the country? I sure did. Regardless, the soil was confiscated and they allowed me to keep the bulbs and bowl. I was not happy that I had lost the perfect soil to grow my tulips. I grudgingly handed the attendant my boarding passes and entered the plane.

For the next nine hours, our flight was uneventful. Settled into our seats we leaned back, closed our eyes and slept most of the flight exhausted from our whirlwind trip to Ireland.

This leg of our trip home reminded me that we should never take anything for granted. Just because the vendor in the airport sold the package of tulip bulbs with dirt in a bowl, it did not mean the package would pass customs inspection.

The same goes for owning your own auto transport business. We can never assume or take a customers auto transport for granted. We always need to work with a servant’s heart, providing the best possible customer service we can. Even if our customer is grumpy or yells at us over the phone our response needs to be calm cool and collected. It is our job to maintain a professional attitude and demeanor when serving all customers.

Come back next time for the concluding story of our flight home and the lessons international travel, old Irish castles and a new granddaughter taught us about the auto transport business.

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Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
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