A Boston Personal Assistant’s Story: Transportation Services for Business Travelers

46A personal assistant’s role is as varied as the work itself. While most services are hands-on in nature, the work has expanded to include providing transportation services to people and pets to a variety of settings. Lately, some corporate clients have secured transportation services for their employees who frequently travel on business. I had the honor of serving some of them this year.

As I sit and write this, summer 2012 has officially ended and I bid farewell to a favorite season spent almost entirely behind the wheel of my reliable car with the air conditioning cranked up high.

An exorbitant amount of time was spent on the road this summer, both in and around Boston, and beyond. By this, I don’t mean hopping into my car and heading down to Cape Cod for a day of relaxation. Far from it. Instead, I mean hopping into my car and driving to a client’s location and transporting them somewhere with their car.

46bOver the summer, I received many calls from clients who had a variety of transportation needs, but my most frequent trip was driving to and from Boston’s Logan International Airport. Thanks to the Ted Williams Tunnel, the Big Dig and improvements in public transportation, driving to Logan Airport is no longer the traffic nightmare it once was.

One of my frequent and most memorable “airport clients” had me drive out to her home in Upton, a little town that is more than 40 miles west of Boston. On a particularly scorching hot Monday afternoon a few weeks ago, my client needed to catch a flight to the Midwest to do a one-day sales presentation and then catch a red-eye flight back to Boston the next day, and she needed me to accompany her in her car to the airport, drop her off at the airport, and then drive her car back to her home.

Knowing how far I would need to go, I left my office with plenty of time to get to Upton. As I drove a couple of miles into Interstate 90 (MassPike as we call it) heading west, I decided to ditch the all-you-can-see-for-miles-are-trees toll road for a more scenic drive on Route 9 near Framingham. I love this stretch of highway and though it’s loaded with traffic lights, it’s a straight path that seems to go as far as the eye can see and each side of the road beckons the driver to stop and shop for a while.

After driving through the Interstate 495 overpass and then eastward to the town of Westborough via Route 30, I then faced a massive expanse of trees for miles. This was a long stretch of the Upton State Forest. It was amazing to see people’s mailboxes across the street from each other. Residents who needed to get their mail would have to carefully cross the narrow road that runs through the forest. Equally amazing was that there were actually homes set amongst the forest trees! There were no utility poles in sight, so this long stretch of forest would be quite dark at night.

My client’s home was situated in a newly developed section of Upton. Situated on more than an acre of land, her massive home offered the visitor a breathtaking view of the forest and distant views of other cities and towns.

On this day, my client was going to drive her husband’s late model Subaru Forester because her own vehicle was being used. Early on, she noted there were issues with the air conditioning unit and although it was “fixed” that morning, it started to fail a bit as she hauled in her luggage. And it was an unbearably hot day.

As I accompanied my client on the drive to the airport, we enjoyed each other’s conversations but the central thing on our minds was the failing air conditioning unit in the car and the discomfort of sitting in a car surrounded by very warm air. She ended up turning the fan on HIGH just to keep the airflow going, but this provided little relief from the heat as the fan was blowing hot air into our faces.

After dropping off my client at Logan Airport and taking over the role as driver, the air conditioning unit at this point was beyond help. I carefully drove my client’s car back to her house following the same route I had taken earlier. Once I pulled into my client’s driveway and parked her car, I left the car keys under a car mat to be retrieved by my client upon her return the next day.

That was one memorable ride. At least the drive back to the office was a far more comfortable one.

Image credit:  Susan Ho