By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Charles Wagner was born in Dallas and spent most of his life in Florida. His parents moved to Athens close to 30 years ago, and Charles moved here after his father passed away to help take care of his mother. He has had an interesting life as a drummer for several cover bands, played for the praise band at Higher Ground 1st United Methodist Church in Coral Springs, and has been a DJ for parties featuring music from the ‘50s to the ‘80s. His favorite styles of music are R & B, Funk and Blues, and currently he is playing for the Chicken Bone Reunion Band. He has also done property management and security work.
Often musicians will have side jobs that are referred to as “side gigs” or “side hustles,” and Charles has come up with something ingenious that will work around his love for music as well as his love for people. It’s called Low Rider Shuttle Service, and is basically a one man local Lyft or Uber service designed to help residents of Athens-Limestone County get to just about any place they need to go between Nashville and Birmingham, with a few designated casino spots.
Charles has also had an interesting life due to the fact that he has had to become strong in the process of battling a rare form of muscular dystrophy. “All my life I was told I can’t- can’t-can’t,” he said, and has proven that he can. I was impressed with his positive attitude, his heart to serve, and his “Charlesisms.” By that I mean, his references to people like Dr. Patch Adams, who started the Gesundheit! Institute, which was one of the pioneers in the use of humor as medicine. Patch said, ““You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” He continued to wax philosophical when he added, “There is no failure in a dream; it’s when you refuse to take a step that you fail.” Charles also made it very clear that he operates Low Rider Shuttle Service on the principles of respect, love, honesty, and servanthood. He believes that it is important to “invest in the people around you,” and Low Rider Shuttle is the answer to the dream as well as an investment in a service that can bless our community. He is also the man who does not want to be given a fish so he can eat for a day, he wants to be the fisherman who fishes for himself and teaches others to fish. His question regarding any potential client is, “What is the need, and how can we solve it?”
Well, the need in our area is that there is no transportation service, and that is a market niche that Charles has started to fill in a unique way. He provides snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, and has 250 DVDs if you wish to watch a movie while you travel. He charges by the trip and not how many occupants, so a round trip to Nashville shared with friends is more than reasonable. He also does jumpstart and gas rescue service, and only charges for the mileage, not the services. If you are wanting to go to a casino for an overnight trip, Low Rider will take you there for a flat rate of $300. “There is never a waiting fee, and the meter is never running,” he said.
Charles has a 2004 Kia van that is licensed, insured for his new business, and also has handicapped parking access. He can take up to 4 people basically anywhere they need to go locally. Most of his fees are flat rate. For example, a person in Athens can get a ride to the airport, bus or train station for $50, with no extra charge for extra people. A trip to Nashville or Birmingham is $150 round trip, and a Gulf area casino trip is $300. The flat rate for all other trips is $2 a mile. Low Rider regularly makes trips to Decatur and Madison. Huntsville is also available, but he wants to build his business right in our community. If you need someone to take you to the grocery store, Charles is your guy, and same with going to the doctor.
Low Rider Shuttle Service is available from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days a week. To book a ride, just call Charles Wagner of Low Rider Shuttle Service at 256-800-9785.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner