|BRIAN, MEGAN, SHAUN & ALEX WITH OUR HYUNDAI|
Alex, our driver, is from Moscow and drives our Hyundai. He is very likable and knows enough English to communicate which is very helpful. The only drawback about Alex is that, like most Russians, he smokes. He doesn’t smoke in the car but you can still smell it, inspite of the fact that he keeps the car very clean. Alex takes pride in his work, a rarity in Moscow. He is a VERY aggressive driver and made me nervous at first but it wasn’t long before I came to trust his skills and appreciated the fact that he could get me where we needed to go as quickly as possible.
Drivers are very common for Ex-pats in Russia. That way they are protected from corrupt policemen and are able to work during their long cummutes. DriverS often do more for their employer than drive. Because they are to be at your service full time they are often used for other necessities such as running errands, hanging pictures, bagging and carrying groceries, moving heavy furniture or making special deliveries. Drivers can also be a great source for communication and will make phone calls for you to those who do not speak English. Not all drivers speak English but Alex does and we have found him to be a reliable resource in a city where very few people can be trusted.
Not all drivers are helpful or give ‘service with a smile’. I have a friend who has a couple of drivers that are lazy obstinate. One time her husband had been working very late and asked the driver to stop at McDonalds for something to eat. The driver wouldn’t stop. No matter that his employer had asked him to. He didn't want to stop so he didn't.
My friend loaned me her driver for a majo shopping trip to Metro (Russia's Costco). I had to buy groceries for the Branch Christmas party and had A LOT of stuff to load and unload. I worked circles around the driver loading and unloading while he lazily unloaded and loaded a few bags. Alex doesn’t even like me to carry my bags but I make him let me.
Unfortunately, because Alex is so good he was promoted in December and is no longer our driver. He now drives a big American SUV and works for a bigger company. On his last day with us we gave him a Book of Mormon, in Russian, with a picture of us and our testimony inside the cover. Hopefully he will actually read it some day. We were so sad to see him go and have come to appreciate him even more since he has been gone. Our new driver is kind, helpful and doesn’t smoke but he drives much slower and doesn’t speak any English. Perhaps someone is trying to tell us to learn to speak Russian.