Richard “Rick” Karl and wife Kelly want bar patrons to make the couple their first call after the bartender’s last call.
The Michigan transplants, who moved to Murfreesboro in fall 2006 with their four children, have started a business. For a fee, they pick up a customer and deposit him or her safely home from the bar.
But unlike a cab service, people won’t have to call another cab to get their cars on the morning after a night out. It will be safely in their driveway, thanks to the Karls’ business, Last Call.
“Rick and I were talking one night about three years ago about starting up a business of this sort,” Kelly said. “Jokingly, we called it Drunk in the Trunk, but thought better of it.”
The business plan is simple. When the couple gets a call they will go to pick up their customer. Rick will drive the client’s car. Also, to help protect the couple, as well as the passenger, males will ride with Rick and females with Kelly.
No alcoholic beverages of any kind will be permitted, they said, and each passenger must wear a safety belt. The per-ride fee is a flat $25 for the first 10-mile radius. After that, each additional mile will cost another $1. The Karls are open for service every Friday and Saturday night.
Nevertheless, the Karls said they have no sympathy for drunken drivers. Although the driving of an intoxicated person has never personally impacted their lives, they want to make sure it remains that way.
“Everyone is a potential victim when someone drinks and then heads out on the open road,” Kelly said. “It’s not the impaired person we are worried about, it’s the impaired person who has keys! . . . It takes courage to admit that you are out of control and can use a little help. That’s where we come in.
According to information contained on the Tennessee Highway Patrol Web site (state.tn.us), 24.6 percent of fatal accidents in 2003 were alcohol related?and there have been years where that number was more than 50 percent.
Kelly said she thinks that starting the Last Call business in a college town may negatively influence their potential profits.
“I personally think that a college-aged person would rather spend $25 on beer tomorrow night than to spend that money on a safe ride tonight,” Kelly said. “I think if the parents knew we offered this service, they would gladly ante up $25, knowing their child would be safe back at their dorm or in their apartment as opposed to a morgue or a jail cell.”
Kayla Neely, a freshman at MTSU, admitted that she, for one, knows this to be true after having to tell her parents of her January DUI arrest.
“Although my parents would have still been pretty mad that I got drunk enough to need money for a cab,” Neely said, “they would have gladly given me the money instead of having to pay for my bail, my attorney and my court fees.”
The Karls had some luck with their business in the Detroit area of Michigan, where they started. One attorney used their service practically every Wednesday, which happened to be the day before trash pickup.
“Rick would always make sure he got into his house safely, then would take his trash cans out for him,” Kelly said.
All in all, reported the Karls, this just goes to show that with this family taxi team, customers get more than what they pay for.
Friday and Saturday Nights
$25 for first 10 miles, $1 each mile after that
Rick Karl: 615-738-0053
Kelly Karl: 615-738-0252