The Chauffeur’s Corner: Interview with Chris Zelazny
Chris Zelazny was born in Poland, and his family moved to Chicago in search of a better life when he was 12 years old. New York was on his mind ever since he was a teenager and, in 2012, he made that dream happen. Chris started his luxury transportation company Zelazny Transportation in 2016, but his experience as a chauffeur goes back to 2013. Since 2020 he’s been hosting Drivania clients in New York City.
· What is your experience as a corporate private chauffeur? What types of clients have you worked with in the past?
From the early days of my chauffeur career I drove corporate clients, among others. Having driven all the greatest names of real estate, development and finance gives me not only satisfaction but also widens my knowledge about this city as I witness how my clients are changing it every day.
Besides corporate clients, I’ve been lucky enough to host movie stars, celebrities, athletes and many wonderful families from all over the world visiting the US East Coast.
· How is New York different from other cities to work as a chauffeur?
Let me start by saying that driving in general in Manhattan is a very challenging task at times. It’s fast, loud, crowded and you need to know your way through all of that chaos. Sometimes finding a parking spot near your pick up area may take 30 minutes, so it’s always good to be there early and have a good relationship with doormen and concierges at hotels and buildings.
· How do you stay updated on current road conditions, weather forecasts, and any potential travel disruptions that could affect your passengers’ schedules?
My workday starts long before I pick up my passenger. I usually check the traffic maps, weather, flight updates and all other crucial information several hours before the service and adjust the route or departure time according to current conditions.
· Can you provide an example of a time when you went above and beyond to exceed a client’s expectations?
Sometimes it’s the small things that make a huge difference. One of my passengers left her house with her dog and we drove to the airport. She realized at the destination that she forgot the leash and there was no time to buy a new one. I simply thought “what could keep the dog close?” and gave her the shoulder strap from my computer bag. It worked and she’s been my client ever since.
Sometimes it’s the big things – like securing a photo shoot spot for the clients – that make my work go way beyond being just a driver.
· What vehicle do you drive and why did you choose it? How is it different from other cars when it comes to ensuring the comfort and convenience of passengers?
I drive a 2023 Cadillac Escalade. Many clients require that they’re driven in this particular car. It is the most luxurious ESV on the market and makes the ride smooth and seamless.