SIOUX FALLS, SD -
While serving in Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Jones said it was his duty to think about his friends and family back home.
"I came up with the concept when I was sitting in my bed, thinking of how I could thank my friends and family for taking care of my wife and kids while I was gone," Jones said.
Throwing around ideas in his head, he was going to thank them by treating them to dinner and drinks. With that, he would also make sure they had a sober ride home. That little plan turned into a big idea. That is how Trust Me, I'm Sober, LLC, was born. It is a new designated driver service in Sioux Falls.
"There are things that separate us from the normal, just get in the vehicle and go pick people up thing," Jones said.
The ten drivers are all soldiers who have spent hours training to prepare for this new venture. Here is how it works: two people will come to pick you up. One person will drive you home, while the other drives your car home, so you do not have to leave it somewhere overnight.
"They have the comfort of being able to be home in their home and having their vehicle home as well," Jason Aanenson said.
You can call a reservations number to schedule service. Just answer three simple questions: Where are you now? How can we find you once we get there? What is your phone number? After that, the dispatch for the company will send a driver your way. The cost is $25 for a pickup, plus $1.80 or $2.00 per mile, depending on where you are going. You also have the option to buy memberships, which will decrease those fees.
"Very comparable to a one-way taxi, for us to take your vehicle home and it beats every category in a round-trip taxi," Jones said.
Though Jones, Aanenson and their colleagues just finished their tour of duty in Afghanistan, they say the urge to serve others will never quit.
"Our main goal is to be able to give somebody an option to take the safe route, instead of, when it comes down to it, choosing the unsafe option," Aanenson said.
The company debuts its services on New Year's Eve, and will be open for business from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.
You can find Trust Me, I'm Sober on Facebook.
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