Those of us who live in Charleston are privileged. We live in one of the greatest cities in the world and it is our duty to share it with others. We are ambassadors of this city we love so dearly, and it is my hope that we can uphold our reputation for being a charming, friendly, and hospitable place. To do this, the Charleston population must treat all people with equality and respect. I, sadly, feel slighted by my own fellow Charlestonians.

I am a tour guide for a carriage company. It was only after learning, cover-to-cover, a 492- page manual and passing the municipal Tour Guide Exam that I was able to obtain my tour guide license.

Throughout my relatively short time giving tours (15 months), I have found that many of my neighbors don't recognize the legitimacy and seriousness of the official tour guides of Charleston.

Countless incidents of disrespect and mistreatment from residents both South and North of Broad leave my heart heavy. I have been stopped, honked at, cussed out, heckled, glared at and told that factually sound information is wrong. But, I am simply doing my job.

Tour guides are not your enemy. They are a crucial part of Charleston's economy. We are the ones who bring customers to your businesses and interested homebuyers to the houses we pass by on our tours. We are not out to slander this kingdom with lies. Please allow us to represent the city as best as we can.

All tour guides, having been licensed by the city, have proved themselves to be competent and well-versed in Charleston's history. We aim to educate, entertain, and dazzle tourists with the colorful stories of this city's past.

If you hear an outrageous story coming from the mouth of a tour guide, don't think, "It can't be true," because it probably is.

On behalf of all tour guides, we ask you to follow the Golden Rule of the streets: treat us the way that you would like to be treated.

To the residents of Charleston, please think before you shout, roll your eyes, rev your engines, or flick someone off - think of how you are showcasing the No. 1 destination in the world. By your actions, you, too, represent this city. If you love Charleston, give back to it. Give it a smile, a wave, or a few kind words. Together, we create the atmosphere of our city. Let's make it a great one.

Arden Cone

Tradd Street