2009-09-23 / Marketplace

On the road with a helping hand

BY NANCY ANGELLOTTI STAFF WRITER

Sue Gleason of Attica-based Errand Express prepares to take Dolly DeShaw to Ann Arbor. The Errand Express van is equipped with a hydraulic lift chair, convenient for individuals with mobility challenges. Errand Express is a personally attended door-to-door transportation service. Sue Gleason of Attica-based Errand Express prepares to take Dolly DeShaw to Ann Arbor. The Errand Express van is equipped with a hydraulic lift chair, convenient for individuals with mobility challenges. Errand Express is a personally attended door-to-door transportation service. ATTICA — Seven days a week, Sue Gleason is ready to get behind the wheel to get you to your destination. Gleason’s Atticabased Errand Express is a door-to-door transportation service for adults. Gleason offers each customer personal attention for their trip.

“If you don’t have family around, you are in a pickle,” says Gleason. Especially for seniors or people with mobility issues, Gleason says that transportation can be a big problem.

After a succession of illnesses in Gleason’s family and in her husband’s family, Gleason said she realized the need for a transportation service.

Gleason decided to start her own business to fill that need. She started her service in April this year. She bought a 2005 minivan that could accommodate the equipment she wanted to install. Gleason’s van is equipped with a hydraulic lift chair for people with mobility problems. She can also stow a scooter or power chair.

Gleason is an insured, bonded, MDOT-certified chauffeur. She is trained in first aid and CPR.

She said her customers are generally seniors or people with various needs ranging from disabilities, mobility challenges or those who have difficulty driving. Gleason says she transports people who can drive, but don’t want to for a variety of reasons. They may be returning from surgery, or they don’t like driving on freeways.

“She was super,” says customer Donald Beyette of Mayville. “She impressed me. I felt comfortable with her right off. She showed up right on time and took me to the hospital.”

He agrees that “with our families spreading out, it’s important to have someone to be there.” Beyette adds, “The price was more than reasonable.”

Trips are scheduled in advance. Ideally, customers contact Gleason to check availability prior to scheduling appointments. Often, family members make the arrangements for their loved ones to be escorted via Errand Express. Gleason offers her service between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Her service covers a lot of territory, serving all of the Thumb area. She regularly drives to Flint. Saginaw and Ann Arbor are also on her list of destinations.

Unlike a taxi service, Gleason assists her customers. She helps her customers get from the house to the van and into their destination.

Gleason also offers a shuttle service for dialysis or chemotherapy treatments. This is a drop-off service, with scheduled times for drop-off and pickup.

“I try to be as affordable as possible because I know how hard it is,” says Gleason. She says that people who can’t find affordable assisted transportation may wind up simply not being able to make their doctor’s appointment.

Gleason enjoys her business. “I find the people very interesting. My parents, grandparents and inlaws are all gone. I find it interesting to hang out with senior citizens,” she says. She confirms she is a “people person.”

Gleason earned her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry at Central Michigan University. She earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of Utah in 1980. She did a stint at Mount Sinai Hospital in cardiac rehab.

After meeting and marrying her husband, and moving to Attica 26 years ago, Gleason left her career in the medical field behind.

Gleason says she’s “always been in something.” When she’s not driving or scheduling for Errand Express, Gleason enjoys a unique sport. She is about to embark on her third full season of curling. Once the season starts, Gleason will drive to Ferndale to play with the Detroit Curling Club four times a week. Gleason says it’s the oldest curling club in the United States.

She loves the sport because “every person on the team is very important at every single moment.” She says everyone on the four-member team has to make decisions — the person delivering the rock, the sweepers, and the “skip” — the person at the end who watches the progress and shouts advice. “The time goes by very fast,” says Gleason.

Gleason can be reached at 810-656-7286 or via email at errandexpress@wild blue.net. Her website is www.myerrandexpress.com.

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