“My husband and I were down in Charleston in October this past year and had a delightful time. We have been to the Holy City quite a few times, the first together in 1998 on our honeymoon. Each time we go, we love to relax, see the city, walk the Market, and feel the culture. One way we did that this time was to take one of your carriage tours. While this was certainly not our first experience taking one, it was perhaps the most delightful.
Our tour guide was John Ross. I encourage you to do all that you can to keep him, as he has the qualities that are needed to keep visitors coming back again and again. His countenance was cordial, welcoming, and jovial. He is the kind of local who makes you feel at home, one who, with true Southern hospitality, opens the doors of the city and makes visitors truly feel welcome… like guests instead of tourists. Prior to the ride, he made sure that he addressed each traveler, introducing himself to them and getting their names as well as some general, but personal, information about them. He throughout the tour called each of us by name and recalled what part of the country we were from, tying in what he knew about our city with what he knew about Charleston (which was a vast collection of information) and connecting us all together within that carriage.
One incident in particular that I want to point out is that on our tour we had a family whose (presumed teenage) son had a disability. From my teaching background, I would assume it to be a form of autism spectrum disorder, though I could be entirely incorrect (and would ask for forgiveness if am). In any case, the youth had an obvious love for equines and was able to field John’s questions with accuracy. While the situation could very honestly have been awkward for the riders that day, it was obvious that John was not fazed by it, nor by the occasional sporadic outbursts that the parents attempted to tame.
Throughout the entire ride, there was nothing awkward — no one squirmed in their seats, nor did they show signs of irritation as I have experienced in the past when others did not understand someone else. I believe that most, if not all, of this can be directly tied to the way that John involved all of us together within the group — multiple races, multiple generations, multiple geographical backgrounds, and multiple socially-cognitive abilities.
I will be following this email with an envelope that I hope will make its way to Mr. Ross. While it is just a minor token — a very minor token compared to the delightful time he gave us — of our gratitude, perhaps it will help in rectifying the “worst tragedy in Charleston’s history” …. the loss of his beloved Krispy Kreme from the Market area. (We are from the city that birthed Krispy Kreme.)
We look forward to returning to Charleston in the future, and will ask for his carriage when we choose to ride again. We have already made multiple referrals your way, and will continue to do so. May God bless you in 2011.”
“We took the carriage ride Wed November 3 around 2-3 in the afternoon. Your company was the best and we have recommended it to friends. We had a wonderful tour guide and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. He mentioned that his wife was romance novel author, and I forget her name. Does someone there know her name? I would like to find her books in Borders Book Store.”
“Dear Palmetto Carriage managers,
My guy and I went on a tour this Saturday lead by Ned and had a great time. I went to CofC and lived in Charleston in years past and still learned a ton of new and interesting stuff. Ned is particularly awesome sharing tidbits on trees and plants – please tell him I’m keeping an eye out for a red crepe myrtle from now on.
I also wanted to send kudos for Danny, who sold us the tickets and was very cordial and professional when being accosted by an arrogant, mean man who wanted to park in the lot while we were paying for our tickets. I like to think of myself as a nice person, but definitely would not have handled the situation with such professionalism. Made your company look really good :)”
“We hired a private carriage for our party of four. Our guide was fabulous and very informative as he took us through the streets of historic Charleston. This was a great way to get our bearings of the layout of Charleston so that we could walk it later. Took tons of beautiful pictures of homes, doors, windows, gates, flower boxes etc. Well worth the money!!”
“My mother and I really enjoyed this tour. Our tour guide was Zippy and she had a great personality was very informative. Our mules were very well mannered. We saw beautiful houses and things we wouldn’t have seen on our own. Tour took about an hour. We were the first tour to leave the building for the day. One point to note: After 5 o’clock, the residential streets are closed to the carriages, so go earlier if you want to see them!”
“My family lived in Charleston for 10 years and never took a carriage ride because we thought it was too expensive. We were transfer to another city years ago. We just arrived home from a vacation in Charleston in which we rode on one of your carriage rides. Jodie was our guide and did a great job. She really made the tour educational and very funny. She is an asset to your company, and I now will recommend your rides to all my friends. Everyone with your company was extremely nice and showed real southern hospitality.
Thanks for a lot of fun and changing my mind on carriage tours.”