June 18th 2020
Mobility for the heroes of the crisis.
When Natalie Dimitriu has the early shift, her mornings have to go fast. She gets up, gets dressed, and hops into her car to drive to work — the bus doesn’t start its route that early in the morning. Shortly after 6 a.m. she’s on the job, ready to support the people she serves. Natalie works in a facility for the inclusion and care of mentally disabled people. Her working life has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, and on top of that her car broke down recently. But a tiny smart has turned out to be a big help.
Like many of her colleagues in the caregiving, healthcare, and food trade sectors, Natalie was hit hard and unexpectedly by the coronavirus crisis. “I work with a group of residents in an assisted-living facility for mentally disabled people. Before the crisis, they had jobs, earned their own money, and lived according to a very regular daily schedule. This routine is very important for them, and it was thrown into absolute chaos overnight,” she reports. In recent weeks, the people in the residential group could no longer go to do their jobs, and visits from their relatives were prohibited. “Here at the group, many people don’t even understand exactly what the coronavirus is. And it’s very hard for them to understand why they can no longer go to work or see their relatives. That has made our support work more difficult at many levels,” she says. In particular, the caregivers clearly see how the residents are being affected by the lack of emotional and practical support from their relatives. In this crisis situation, the pared-down staff is under even more pressure. Additional shifts, extra tasks, and the need to deal with lots of insecurity and fear are pushing Natalie and her colleagues to their limits. Nonetheless, Natalie’s job is also very rewarding. A trained nurse, she wants to help and support people — and her job enables her to do that every day.
No car, no caregiving
Natalie depends on her car in order to get to her workplace. And as though the coronavirus crisis were not enough, her car broke down at exactly the wrong time. Engine damage. Every day, Natalie needs to drive more than 50 kilometers to get to her work, usually very early in the morning or late at night, because she works shifts. Unfortunately, public transportation is not a big help for her. There’s only one bus route, and the buses stop at her bus station only once per hour during the daytime. “I realized immediately that without a car, I would have to look for a job that was closer to my home. But changing jobs in the midst of this difficult situation wouldn’t be the right thing to do either. Luckily, my boss drew my attention to a federal program that enables healthcare workers and caregivers to use a rental car free of charge,” she says.
And that’s what happened: A smart was waiting at the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Wuppertal to come to Natalie’s rescue. Mercedes-Benz Rent, the rental service run by Mercedes-Benz Sales and Mercedes-Benz Bank, is part of a special “Replacement mobility” program. All of the Mercedes-Benz Rent branches in Germany, as well as 25 of the company’s 57 contract partners, are making vehicles available for the special program.
Fast and easy rental
“After I knew that another car was available for me, everything went really fast,” says Natalie. “We only had to enter some data online, and on the very next day I was able to pick up the car at the dealership. The people from Mercedes-Benz Rent were very nice, and they gave me good advice. I just had to sign, and then they gave me an introduction to driving a smart.” She was especially pleased by the uncomplicated registration process and the option to test-drive a car for a longer period of time, independently of the current situation. Now she can drive the smart for all of June free of charge. That will give her time to look for a new car without any pressure. Will her next car also be a smart? “Driving the smart has really been a lot of fun, and I think it’s great that this program gave me the opportunity to try it out. However, in the long run a bigger car would be a better choice for us as a family. I’d be ready in a moment to keep the smart as a second car,” she laughs. “But seriously, when I picked up this car I took the opportunity to find out about the company’s leasing offers. There might be something there that’s just right for us.”
What will she remember especially vividly about the coronavirus crisis? “One positive thing will certainly be the program and the car. It came to the rescue at exactly the right moment. I’ll probably also remember the strange feeling of seeing people wearing masks everywhere. And the completely new experience of homeschooling my daughter. That took some getting used to, and I’m sure it was the same for many other parents and children.”
About Mercedes-Benz Rent
Mercedes-Benz Rent is the premium car rental offer of Mercedes-Benz. It closes the gap between carsharing and leasing or financing a vehicle. It offers Mercedes vehicles for short-term or long-term rental to private and business customers in Germany and other European countries. A broad spectrum of models guarantees that customers will have the right rental car for every purpose or occasion.
Click here to get to the “Replacement mobility” support program for clinic workers.
What if you don’t work in the healthcare sector but are still interested in renting a Mercedes?
In that case, go to the regular MB Rent booking platform.