We tend to think of the Amish as shutting themselves off from the outside world, but one Amish man in Michigan is embracing a modern trend in his own innovative way.
Timothy Hochstedler of Colon, Michigan, has added his own spin on the fairly newfangled concept of ride sharing with what he calls “Amish Uber.” For $5, Hochstedler will take you where you need to go in his horse and buggy and provide stories and conversation along the way.
WMMT reports that Hochstedler received his inspiration from Uber’s immense popularity. “Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber. We can deliver people to their front door steps,” Hochstedler said.
Both tourists and locals have embraced Amish Uber, both for the novelty and for the unique taste of Amish culture that Hochstedler provides.
“I don’t think there’s Uber down here, so it’s pretty cool. It gives people that option that can’t drive or don’t want to drive or shouldn’t drive,” Becky Phelps, an Amish Uber rider, said.
According to WMMT, “Riders get a chance to see Colon without the distraction of driving a car.”
“Most of them aren’t from Colon, but the Colon people have given me a few options like: Would you give me a ride to Curly’s? Would you go to my house? and, Yeah I’d do that,” Hochstedler said.
Hochstedler takes pride in his friendly horse, as well as his personable approach to touring the local area. He doesn’t work for Uber; instead, Hochstedler has co-opted the name for his one-of-a-kind service. He even made himself available for a local festival earlier this month.
Of course, there’s no Amish Uber app. Riders simply have to seek Hochstedler out or flag him down if they come across him on the road.
Timothy Hochstedler represents a modern take on the entrepreneurial strength that the Amish have demonstrated for generations. From restaurants to furniture builders to, yes, ride sharing, the Amish have built businesses not just for themselves but for the “English,” their term for the non-Amish.
The Amish have not shied away from hard work, and they take pride in the services and goods they offer. They’re not afraid to reach out to people who are different than they are, and they don’t sell a product or offer a service that they don’t stand behind.
A quote at Big Think sums up the Amish entrepreneurial spirit well:
Like many entrepreneurs, the Amish look at entrepreneurial success in ways that go well beyond financial success. Owning a business allows the Amish to have more time with family, as most of the businesses employ family members. Time with family is at the core of their culture, so using business ownership as a tool to maximize that time is paramount. Success is also tied to legacy. Amish entrepreneurs hope to be able to pass down their businesses to the next generation. The ability to give back to their community through mentorships, supporting missions, and financial contribution to those in need is also at the core of how they view success.
Many of us in the modern world could take a cue or two from Amish businesses — even if we aren’t business owners ourselves. Tying our work to our faith and/or deeply held beliefs can make what we do more personal and give us ownership of our responsibilities. The pride in hard work that the Amish represent can help us feel good about a job well done.
The Amish build their businesses to have staying power for generations. Here’s hoping Timothy Hochstedler can have long-lasting success with his Amish Uber.