by Tony Rushin
My son, Jerod, was between gigs in May (he does film work in the props department) when he ran into Tamara outside the Oakhurst Market in Decatur. Within a few days he was a PANDA. Before his next gig in July (part of the wrap up crew for the Richard Jewell movie… no, he didn’t get to meet Clint Eastwood) he had:
- Walked kids home from school
- Cleaned out a closet; took two big boxes to Goodwill
- Did some grocery shopping
- Unpacked books and arranged a bookshelf
- Packed up a kid’s bedroom so it was ready to move
- Brought delivered packages into a house and met the Bellsouth technician
A PANDA is a Personal Assistant Next Door Anytime. The company, called My Panda, started in Decatur. Turns out Jerod ran into one of the co-founders, Tamara Vrooman Lucas, when she was still beta-testing the concept. Now the service is available throughout neighborhoods in Atlanta and spreading quickly.
When Jerod told me he was doing odd jobs in his neighborhood to make a little money I thought: “that’s cool that he can help out his neighbors and make a little money in the process”. And then I didn’t give it a second thought. Fast-forward to November when Amanda Farahany, Managing Partner at Barrett & Farahany and a new Network 1 client, complemented me on the Turo tip I had written. She also wondered if Tuesday Tip readers would want to know about My Panda. When I started checking it out the story sounded familiar: a quick text to Jerod confirmed why.
My Panda takes a simple concept – neighbors helping neighbors – and makes it quick and easy to find someone who can help you. I downloaded the app from the iPhone App Store and within minutes had setup my account. I decided to use my work address in Sandy Springs since they hadn’t – as of November 26th – made it out to my home in Johns Creek yet. The primary menu looks like this:
It took me less than 5 minutes to ask a Panda to pick up some items at Costco for the next Bourbon Club. I set a maximum amount, listed the items I wanted and also asked the Panda to surprise me with something sweet – their choice. I set the delivery date & time and forgot about it. Three days before the delivery date I got a text from my Panda – Susan – to confirm. She delivered the items right on time and nailed the sweet surprise (how did she know that I secretly like coconut)?
Of course My Panda does all of the things you expect; here’s a quote from one of their clients:
If you’ve read this far you must be interested so here are two ideas for moving forward right now:
- Consider giving the gift of My Panda to your employees. You can set up a company account at My Panda and purchase a set number of hours per month at a discounted rate. It’s a win-win: employees are happier because they get help with their personal to do list and they can get more done at work because they aren’t distracted thinking about their long personal to do list.
- Sign up for the app using GCCA as the referral code. My Panda will contribute 5% of any services you use to the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy until February 8th when Barrett & Farahany will host a Casino Party to benefit GCCA: all My Panda users are invited!