When the mobile ridesharing service Lyft came to Owensboro in November of 2017, Barbie Korfhage’s best friend told her that she would be a perfect fit as a driver, even giving her the nickname Concierge Barbie. Since transporting her first passengers in July of 2018, Korfhage has clocked 1,363 rides and currently maintains a 5-star rating with the online platform. She was also voted Owensboro’s Best Rideshare Driver for 2019 in the Best of Owensboro Living.
“I just love people,” Korfhage said. “They get in my car and I think they can tell that.
They know right away that I enjoy what I’m doing.”
The Owensboro born former stay-at-home mother has always had a love of hospitality and of people. She said, after raising her two children, her husband joked that she could no longer buy any more purses or shoes, so she went out the next day to find a job that would provide her with her own spending money.
Within minutes of entering the lobby of the hotel for the interview she was hired and, within six months, was in the role of assistant manager. But, Korfhage said, she has never been one to sit still and soon found herself wanting to take her contagious love of people and all things Owensboro on the road — literally.
“I love hospitality — I love Owensboro — I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” Korfhage said. “I feel like I can share that with people from out of town. I have shown them so many things in Owensboro, the best restaurants to eat at, the best places for entertainment…historical places to visit like the Sassafras tree. I think my hospitality background has really helped with that.”
Once called Owensboro’s biggest cheerleader by her hotel manager, Korfhage now spends many Friday and Saturday evenings, and some holidays, transporting passengers to and from a variety of locations. This comes as no surprise for a woman who often transported friend’s children home from dances and athletic games and once had a group of friends rent her a 15 passenger van to drive them to a concert in Evansville.
“I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve picked up from soccer because their parents were busy or teenagers I’ve driven home from homecomings before Lyft was here,” Korfhage said. “It was kind of a natural progression.”
Korfhage said each one of the passengers that she has transported in her 7-passenger Toyota Highlander SUV have left an indelible impression on her. Some of the most memorable she said included her very first request in which a father and his infant son needed transportation to the emergency room to avoid a two-hour taxi ride and could not afford an ambulance. She also recalls her 1,000th passenger whom she surprised with a $25 Visa gift card.
“I love every moment of it,” Korfhage said. “I drive so many people I know and I’ve met some wonderful people and made some very good friends through my Lyft customers.”
She said it is not uncommon for her to receive calls or texts to her personal cell phone asking her if she is available to drive before customers consult the Lyft platform. Korfhage also said that many women have expressed their gratitude for having a female driver.
“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve picked up in my pajamas because I’m home in bed and they’ve called and then gone through the Lyft platform,” Korfhage said. “I’m simply doing my job. I’m getting them from point A to point B safely.”
As Korfhage prepared to go out on the road for New Year’s Eve she received several ride requests. Although, she said, contrary to popular belief, New Year’s is not the busiest night of the year for drivers.
“Last year, this was not the biggest night of the year, it was the night before Thanksgiving,” Korfhage said, adding that there are so many drivers out on New Year’s Eve that it decreases the amount of individual business.
“The way I see it, the more the merrier,” Korfhage said. “The more drivers we have, the better it is for Owensboro for people to get where they need to go.”