MINNETONKA — When Brad McGill purchased Dry Drivers 11 years ago, he didn’t expect it to take over his life and lead to a multifaceted business.
With McGill at the helm, Dry Drivers became DASSHH, a company with a mission to keep people safe as they get to their designation - particularly intoxicated people. Their main business was still Dry Drivers - a service that will drive you and your vehicle home if you are too intoxicated to drive.
This summer, McGill launched another facet of the company - Sober Skippers.
Sober Skippers gives boaters a boat captain for the day so they can enjoy the lake without fear of a BWI (boating while intoxicated citation).
McGill launched the new service after one of his clients from DASSHH asked him to captain his boat for his wife and their friends last summer, so they wouldn’t have to worry about drinking and being out on the water. McGill was happy to help.
This summer, Sober Skippers is officially open for business and has been incorporated into the DASSHH app.
Those interested can hire McGill or another one of his eight boat captains through the DASSHH app. The price for a boat captain through Sober Skippers is $50 an hour and McGill needs 24 hours notice to find the appropriate captain.
Sober Skippers is not just for Lake Minnetonka boaters but for the whole Twin Cities area.
“We’ll go wherever your boat needs to go,” McGill said.
McGill is a local of Lake Minnetonka, growing up in Mound and now living in Minnetonka. DASSHH takes up much of his time as he does a lot of driving and boating himself.
He has 24 drivers that work for him as well helping with the Dry Drivers program and the other driving services which include on-demand cars, similar to Uber or Lyft without surge prices; Medi car, non-emergency medical rides; and guardian angel, rides specifically for kids ages 12 and up.
“For years the elderly have told us not to talk to strangers or get in a call with a stranger and now we’re asking them to do just that with an Uber or Lyft ride,” McGill said about catering the business to older adults. “Because you can pick your favorite driver, they don’t have to be concerned about that.”
All services can be booked through the app or, for simplicity, you can just give McGill a call. He gives one his cards to every person he gives a ride to or talks about his business with and often he gets a call later that day or week, somebody needing a ride.
McGill has a lot of stories about his time as a dry driver and on-demand car driver including sober driving some interesting characters and one rather serious instance.
McGill tells a story of getting a call from a young woman asking for a dry driver for an intoxicated man in her house. The call came early in the morning and was in Brooklyn Heights and so McGill declined the ride - feeling he couldn’t send a driver out there. But McGill felt uncomfortable about the call and texted the number after the phone call and asking the young woman if she wanted him to call 911. She sent back a quick “yes” reply. McGill called the police and waited up to hear from the woman again. He got a call the next day.
“I don’t know who you are but you are a guardian angel,” the woman said, according to McGill.
McGill is taking his experiences as driver and writing a book - on top of the 10 books he’s already written. This one will focus on his business, currently titled “Fritos for Breakfast: Life of a Sober Cab Driver.”
McGill says someday he’ll step back from the business - stop talking calls himself and doing some of the driving but for now he’s always on the clock, waiting for a call.
“My attitude is - build it now because I’m building a legacy for my two boys,” he said.