I sometimes get asked questions about what it’s like to be an Uber driver. Just casual conversations and I’ve shared a few funny stories on Facebook. They were well received as they were charming or funny and I just wanted to share a tidbit at the time.
One was about an elderly couple from India that I picked-up. We chatted for the few miles towards their destination. They were loaded down with gifts and flowers for their grandchildren and were an absolute delight.
The problem was, they had put in the wrong address so when I pulled up to let them out, shock and despair ensued. I got it all sorted out by having them call the daughter and getting the right address. The funny part was when the man kept trying to give me credit cards to pay for the ride. Adorable! I assured him it was all taken care of and then made him promise me 3 times to NEVER, EVER TO THAT AGAIN!
Fun stories are to be had as a ride-share driver. This is not something you can take very seriously and if you don’t like people, never do ride-share.
I pulled up to a location today – you just follow the app- and the guy wasn’t there. I was smack in the middle of a parking lot of a large apartment complex, so it didn’t quite make sense that he would have requested the ride from this spot. I waited and after 3 minutes, the app asks if I want to cancel for a “no-show.” I can and get paid a few bucks, so instead I called him. He wanted me to drive somewhere else, WHICH MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE!
I ask him where he is and he starts to give me a long winded description. I realize not only do I have NO idea where he is, I don’t know where I am. I circle around, looking for him and I’m about the cancel the fare when I see a man walking along the sidewalk, on his phone.
I stop and roll down my window.
“Hey!” I shout.
He stops and looks over at me.
“You looking for Uber?” I ask, just a bit annoyed.
“Yes. Are you Susan?”
“Ya think?” I say. He gets into the car and I verify his name before I start the trip.
I don’t pull away just yet. I put the car in park and turn around and look at him.
“Hey, Charlie, did you know that Uber drivers aren’t mind readers? Did you know that the app has us go to the EXACT spot you requested the ride and if you aren’t standing there, WE DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?”
I smile, he smiles and hangs his head. “Yes, ma’am,” he says as we pull away.
You never know who’s getting into your car and believe it or not, we don’t know what your destination is. All we know is someone is requesting a ride and we either accept it or reject it. Once the ride has started – after their butts are firmly planted in the car with their seat belts on after they have confirmed their name – do we then start the trip. That’s when we know we’re they are headed.
It’s hard work at times, but I like the fact that I can hit the road anytime I want and meet people. Each and every fare has been fine. No horror stories – but then again, I don’t drive at night, so no “drunk runs” – and in a very odd way, it tends to restore my faith in mankind.
I’ve met struggling immigrants with Master degrees that can no longer find work due to the recent political climate. I’ve met people who don’t speak English yet communicated perfectly with their smiles and hand shakes. I’ve given rides to sick and elderly people whom I was either picking-up from a health care facility or dropping them off. I gave a ride to a couple to a hospital so they could visit with their terminally ill daughter. Yesterday I picked-up a blind woman who didn’t speak English and was using her walker. Her son had ordered the ride and called as I was approaching the dialysis clinic. Even though she was gravely ill, blind and unable to walk, she was the sweetest human being and so grateful for the ride.
I was grateful for the opportunity to not only meet her, I was happy to be able to spend a small portion of my afternoon making sure she got home safely.
I made a friend with a man who is hysterically funny and got me to give him the name of this blog. He pulled it up on his phone, started reading it out loud and laughed and cried at all the right places. We text and keep trying to meet up for bingo, which is where I first dropped him off on a Tuesday afternoon. I still want to join him, but since then, I’ve picked up more jobs and no longer have Tuesday afternoon’s available.
I’ve learned that rich people don’t tip and those with little, do tip well. I had one fare that took over 2.5 hours to arrive at his destination in bumper-to-bumper traffic through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate bridge. That’s one long and difficult drive anytime, but even more so in commuter traffic. His house was a mansion on the San Francisco Bay and the entire time he was in my car, he was on his phone and laptop. Nice enough man, but not even $1.00 tip. Yet the young woman that I picked-up and drove for 30 minutes to a not-so-great neighborhood, tipped me $3.00. And she was unemployed.
What does it mean?
Nothing, really. Just that you never know about people and they can surprise you at any moment. That everyone is struggling and that being decent and kind is a choice and has nothing to do with anything other than yourself and who you really are.
I slept 10 hours last night and got up this morning and drove again. I have 3 jobs during the week and ride-share all weekend. I’m tired but happy. I got to meet some really nice and funny people this weekend. People that I never would have met otherwise.
If you are ever interested in driving for Uber, use this promo code and I’ll gladly help you as much as I can. It’s: SUSANL1299ue. Passive income is a beautiful thang.