Sabine Weis: For love of driving and people

Soon after passing her driving test, Sabine started working in the logistics industry, ferrying goods all over Europe. Though she loved the job, she missed human contact. When she was 23, she decided becoming a taxi driver might fix that. It turned out to be the perfect vocation for her. Just three years later, she and her fellow workers bought the entire company, and before long she became the sole owner of Flying Cars.

What she enjoys most about her work is that she can help people and make them happy. She achieves this with the help of her husband and a fleet of ŠKODAs, having switched to the Czech brand mainly because its cars are so reliable and resilient.

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DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST OUTING IN YOUR VERY FIRST CAR?
Yes, of course. I had already bought a used Ford Capri before I passed my driving test. It was a beauty, all in white, but it had seen better days. I did it up and decided to go for a coffee right after I got my licence. The café was in Paris. Everyone asked me why on earth I drove to Paris for a coffee. I answered, why not?

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Robin Šín: It heartens me when I see how beneficial my work is

As soon as he started studying at medical school, Robin Šín knew precisely that he wanted to get into emergency medicine. He gained his first experience on placements while he was still a student, and in the beginning his adrenaline would be pumping. Nowadays, as a seasoned professional, he is more at ease. His work car is a ŠKODA KODIAQ. As a rescue worker, he knows that safety – whether he is driving on call or off duty – is paramount.

It gives him a lift when he sees how beneficial his job is, and the greatest reward is when people come up to him and thank him for what he has done for them. This gives him the most satisfaction and confirms that his work is meaningful.

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WHAT BUGS YOU MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It makes me quite sad to see young patients drunk and abusing drugs. They are a clear warning of where society at large is headed. When I was at high school or university and we had a few too many when we were partying, we were always able to take care of each other. You don’t see that any more, unfortunately. It’s every man for himself usually now. They have no qualms about leaving a friend, someone who they’ve been having a blast with for hours, lying collapsed somewhere. Worse, they think it’s funny that an ambulance, the police, and what have you, have had to become involved. It’s an incident they can boast about on social media.

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Reinhold Welker: You have to learn to walk before you can run

Reinhold Welker is one of those people whose path through life starts to be plotted when they are still very young. When he was 11, he got a model plane for Christmas, sparking his great passion for mechanics. Aircraft were also a big part of his studies, because he trained as an engine mechanic at the airport in Frankfurt. But he also found out how much he adored cars, too. So much so that he set up a car workshop with his friend. Soon after, he began selling cars as well, and became an official ŠKODA dealer in Germany.

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These days, Reinhold Welker owns one of the largest private ŠKODA showrooms in the country. His feet firmly on the ground, he continues to stick to one and the same principle: “Customers want us to pay attention to them and take their wishes seriously. At the same time, the whole selling process must remain friendly and cheerful.” This is also reflected in the atmosphere at the showroom, where customers and employees alike feel at ease.

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WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE TOY WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE??
I adored board games. Frankly, in a world without computers or smartphones, there wasn’t much else around. Monopoly was my favourite. Who knows, maybe it helped to make me the businessman that I am today?

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Jana Reinišová: I like to floor the gas when I have the chance

She was 18 when she first sat at the wheel of a car, and she has been in love with driving ever since. These days, however, Jana Reinišová – the Czech ambassador to the Netherlands – has little time to drive as she is busy managing the embassy and chairing the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. When travelling by car, she prefers to sit up front next to her chauffeur, only switching to the back seat when such protocol becomes unavoidable.

ŠKODAs are a thread weaving through her life. Her first car was a ŠKODA 1000 MB, which she still won’t hear a bad word about, and her current car is her official ŠKODA SUPERB.

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HAVE YOUR DREAMS AS A DRIVER COME TRUE?
I’ve always wanted to drive a tank, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet. I have driven a tractor, though.

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Kateřina Pivrncová: When a car has two sets of pedals

Kateřina Pivrncová has been fascinated by cars and road signs ever since she was a little girl. No wonder, then, that she found her true vocation as a driving instructor and that she still enjoys cars – she currently has a ŠKODA RAPID specially adapted to provide driving lessons. She follows a “train hard, fight easy” approach and can be stern on her students when warranted. She believes that a driver’s most important qualities are patience, considerateness, tolerance, and the ability to concentrate and drive with foresight.

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Her favourite students are those who are diligent learners and focus on their driving. Unfortunately, they’re not all like that. Increasingly, she finds herself with learners who take driving lessons mainly because of pressure from their peers, parents or employers. Needless to say, this is reflected in how they perform at the wheel.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK CARS WILL BE LIKE IN 20 YEARS?
Looking back 20 years, today’s cars are not that much different in their core principles. I don’t think anything absolutely revolutionary will occur in the next 20 years.

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Jan Kopecký: I’d never go to a car wash

Czech national rally champion many times over, European champion, and world champion – rallying courses through Jan Kopecký’s blood. His grandfather raced on motorcycles, his father was into karting and uphill races, and Jan Kopecký has continued the family tradition. He was racing karts before he got his national ID card, and was triumphing in big cars before he even passed his driving test. In 2018, as a ŠKODA Motorsport factory team driver, he became world champion in the WRC2 category.

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And what sort of a driver is Jan Kopecký when he’s not competing? When you hear that someone is a rally-driver, you might get the impression that they’re a danger to others on the road. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jan is a well-trained driver with heaps of experience and lightning-fast reflexes. An ordinary drive is like watching a film in slow motion for him. He follows the rules not just because he’s an upstanding citizen, but also because the loss of his licence would automatically bring a stop to his rallying.

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GOT ANY GOOD UNUSUAL STORIES ABOUT YOU AND A CAR?
Almost everything that I experience is unusual and involves a car, so it’s hard to choose. But I remember how my friends and I used to go to the disco. I always drove them there, let them out, and while they were on the dance floor I would head out for a drive in the woods. Then I’d pick them up after a few hours and we would drive home. You’d be surprised at how much I learnt behind the wheel at discos.

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Miroslav Kahoun: It’s the smiles on customers’ faces that make me happy

For Miroslav Kahoun, chief courier at the Dáme jídlo meal delivery service, sound interpersonal relations – both with customers and co-workers in his team – are the best source of inspiration to keep him going. These relationships are a rock he can lean on, helping him to deal better with unexpected situations and with stress during the afternoon peak in a jammed city, where not even the compactness of his faithful helper, a ŠKODA CITIGO, can save him.

What he enjoys most about his work is the smiles of satisfied customers and the fact that he helps people to save time and often also to discover the delicious flavours of exotic dishes they may not have tried before. Driving through night-time Prague, which Miroslav will never tire of, is simply the icing on the cake.

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HOW DID YOU GET INTO MEAL DELIVERIES?
I used to work as a printing press operator. You stand in a book-making factory and the work whizzes through your hands. The thing is, I prefer it when I can work on wheels. I like it that I can see something of the world and get to meet different people all the time. I think it breaks up the mundane aspect of work and that’s why I still enjoy it.

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Peter Sudeck: There are no problems, only solutions

Peter Sudeck is an engineer to the core. Even when he was a little boy, he would build model cars, aircraft and boats. His career is dedicated to the quality and optimisation of processes. He first worked for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, before being lured to the Group’s North American headquarters near Detroit. His job was to ensure that processes in the US resulted in the same quality as in Germany. After returning to Germany, he set off to explore the automotive industry behind the Iron Curtain, which captivated him so much that, in 1991, he switched from VW to ŠKODA.

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Peter’s interest in cars is not limited to their production. He is also keen on renovating and maintaining them. He and his friends, for example, have completely renovated a ŠKODA 130 RS, a car that is now a great success in various rallies throughout Europe. He also loves vintage ŠKODAs, of which he has numerous specimens in his collection, and has founded a group for admirers of historic ŠKODAs in Germany.

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WHAT’S YOUR DREAM DESTINATION FOR A CAR TRIP?
Oh, I’ve actually already been on my dream trip. That was my 2010 Cornwall trip with the ŠKODA Oldtimer IG association. We drove a good two weeks through all of south-west England and Cornwall. I  was a really great experience. I’d also like to drive to North Cape (Nordkapp) in a classic car. To enjoy the expanses and tranquillity of Scandinavia. Maybe I’ll get to go soon.

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Jean-Philippe Jaquier: I’d never eat in my car

Staff sergeant Jean-Philippe Jaquier had a passion for cars and motorsport even as a boy. Soon after passing his driving test, he began to race, and he would also tune and repair cars. This merely confirmed his suspicion that he would like to combine his professional life with cars, too. This prompted his decision to apply for the position of a car mechanic with the police. Immediately, though, he was offered the chance to join the highway patrol police, and he jumped at the opportunity. Now, having spent 19 years in the field, he is head of the Police Cantonale Vaudoise’s transport unit.

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One of his main duties is fleet management, enabling him to combine his knowledge of mechanics with his police experience, which is particularly useful when it comes to selecting new cars. The most important criteria for choosing a new police car are performance, practicality and price. ŠKODA cars fit the bill nicely, and now more than 70 of them have passed through Jean-Philippe’s hands as part of the fleet.

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF CARS DIDN’T EXIST?
I would be very sad.

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Aleš Zelený: Thanks to my car I can move freely again

A split second changed Aleš Zelený’s life forever. He was riding his motorbike when a lorry collided with him, sending him spinning into a field. When Aleš was brought out of his medically induced coma, he discovered that he was paralysed and had very limited movement in his left arm. That was 11 years ago. A lot has changed since then, and Aleš is once again a cheerful man who lives life to the full. His ŠKODA SUPERB, specially remodelled for manual control and adapted as much as possible to Aleš’s requirements, has been a massive help.

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His mobility restored, Aleš can again travel, do sport or go on drives with Drago, his faithful dog. He has travelled through much of Europe, is a mean table-tennis player, rides handbikes and now, most of all, wants to help others.

My life, my car: Thanks to my car I can move freely again

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF BIKERS?
Regardless of what happened, I still like motorbikes. When I come up behind a motorbike or when I get overtaken by one, I roll down the windows just to smell the petrol. I try to keep an eye out for and respect bikers. If I see that single light behind me, I know he may be faster than me. In a traffic jam, I try to keep more to the right to make space for motorbikes to go through. I don’t like drivers who block bikers simply because they’re stuck in traffic themselves.

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Jaroslav Tětek: When I’m in my truck, I am the master of my time

All his life, Jaroslav Tětek has been drawn to anything he could ride or drive. First, in preparation for military service, he did what they called the “trio”, i.e. he got a driving licence for a tractor, a car and a lorry. During military service, he extended that to include buses and trailers, so when he was discharged he started earning a living driving trucks. For the past ten years, he has been transporting ŠKODA cars from Mladá Boleslav and Kvasiny all over Europe. His work mostly takes him to Germany, but occasionally he also heads over to Spain. These long hauls are his favourite because he can get some decent driving in and rest well during his compulsory breaks.

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In his profession, dexterity is a must, with experience also playing a major role, because the drivers themselves are responsible for loading and unloading the cars that are to be transported. Forward and thorough planning, then, is of the essence. What is more, different regulations on the maximum height and length of lorries may vary from one European country to another, so drivers also have to bear in mind the countries they will be passing through. Consequently, this is often more adventurous – and hence more interesting – than transporting other loads.

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WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
The freedom. I don’t have an exact daily working time, just hours per week. So sometimes I start at six or eight, other times at four o’clock. I organise my working week according to the route assigned and the instructions given by the dispatchers.

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