Meet Steve Hunt. Newlands chauffeur extraordinaire

Submitted by MattAllen on Fri, 04/30/2021 - 08:17

It’s no exaggeration to say that Steve gives real meaning to the phrase of going the extra mile. In pre-lockdown days he was always busy taking our residents wherever they chose or needed. That could be to the races, concerts, opera, polo matches, theatre, medical appointments, trips to places of interest or simply on shopping runs. Quite frankly, the list is endless. 

As he says himself, nowadays he is more part of our concierge team. 

“Shopping on behalf of residents has really changed. I have to try to interpret what on the face of it should be a simple request. Milk for instance. I never realised that there were so many forms of milk. Not just the usual skimmed, half skimmed and full fat but also goat, sheep, almond, soy, rice, lacto-free, coconut, hemp and oat. I’m on a learning curve of everyone’s like and dislikes. 

I try to accommodate the residents’ wishes which often means being more resourceful in order to find what they want. For example, when a couple didn’t like Tesco potatoes I went to a local farm shop to get a sack of the type they wanted. Often I’m asked to buy a birthday card with little instruction as to the recipient so I’ve learnt to ask if it’s for a grand-daughter or older friend so that I get something far more suitable. After all, a card with a country scene isn’t really going to cut it with your average teenager.

It all brings me closer to the residents as I learn more about their extended families and their individual life experiences. I have some wonderful conversations with the most fascinating people who live here. Driving them gives me the advantage of superb one-on-one time to listen and engage on meaningful conversation that I enjoy as much as them. It’s a privilege and going the extra yard is what everybody does here, not just me.

I remember taking two residents before lockdown to the nearby Donnington Brewery. It was a fabulous summer’s day and although one of the residents had lived in the area for years he had never been there. It isn’t strictly open to the public but they were made to feel very welcome to view the wonderful lake with the black swans and trout the size of torpedos. Some Americans pulled up who were on tour of the country. They thought the residents they started talking to were British royalty. We joked later that all that was needed was Mary Poppins to fly past and a red London Routemaster bus to make their day. It was a magical moment and incredibly rewarding to see the residents’ enjoyment.

On occasion I’ve driven a resident down one of the local lanes so she could stand at a farmer’s gate to see the view, breathe in the scent from the wildflowers and listen to the skylarks. Journeys for me are never from just A to B. No two individuals are the same and no two days are the same and that’s the genuine attraction”.