Hubby picked me up and drove me home after work yesterday but I had dinner alone as he needed to attend a dinner meeting in Namyangju, a city in Gyeonggi Province just outside Seoul. When I called him to ask what time he would be home, he said that he was a little drunk and that he wasn’t sure when he would arrive.
Koreans are notorious for their drinking culture. Some people drink to forget their woes, friends drink for camaraderie and friendship, and office workers drink to reaffirm their solidarity. Hubby doesn’t like alcohol but he’s not exempted from their drinking culture. As a Korean, he finds it hard to say no when a senior offers him a drink. In doing business in Korea, sometimes a night out or drinking session with partners or clients is better than a week of discussion in the office. Drinking is indeed a social lubricant.
He sensed that I was worried so he assured me that a replacement driver or daeri woonjeon (대리운전) would take him home. Daeri woonjeon (대리운전) is a driving service where you can pay for a driver to get both you and your car home safely. This service is not only for people who are drunk, but also for those who are too tired to drive. In most drinking spots in Seoul, there are posters or inflatable ads promoting such service. You can call the number and verbally inform dispatchers of your pickup location. There is also an app for this driving service. You just download the app, pinpoint your location through GPS, type in your destination and the app will search for a driver near your location (within 500 meters).
These drivers are not only providing a service but are also saving the lives of many people. The number of alcohol related accidents has decreased since the driving business started years ago. These drivers work hard to earn money to support their families and at the same time providing a safety service that benefits Korean society. They are helping to drive the nightlife economy while also keeping people safe from accidents. The business has actually grown to become a professional, nationwide system. Thanks to this amazing driving service, hubby arrived home safe last night. 🙂