My Life With Uber: Part One – From the Bird’s Nest
Last week I let everyone know I'm driving for Uber in my spare time. For the most part I've met some great people and really haven't had too many of what I'd call horror stories. And so, during the summer, I'll be sharing some of my experiences.
So, here's the first installment of "My Life With Uber."
IT PAYS TO KNOW THE FIGHT SONG--I picked up some college students heading for downtown Lafayette. We neared Cajun Field and they mentioned a couple of games they went to. The young woman riding up front said the only part of the fight song she knew was "Geaux UL." Then she looked at me.
"Do You Know It?"
"Oh, sing it!!" I just smiled and shook my head. "You don't want to hear me sing."
So I did. They all applauded. The woman up front said "You are soooo bad ass!"
I finished the ride and dropped them off. She tipped me seven dollars.
Now, as I said earlier, there is no obligation to tip. But we do accept tips. They are NOT part of the fare you pay. If you think your driver did everything possible to make your experience enjoyable and you want to leave a tip, your driver will graciously accept. Especially if he made a fool of himself singing the fight song.
CALL ME...MAYBE?--I picked up a woman in River Ranch. She had a couple of cocktails and was headed to another restaurant for dinner with a gentleman friend. She was dressed to impress. By the time I got to her destination I learned her gentleman friend was just a friend and much older. She uses UBER because she wants to set a good example for her 21 year old daughter. She told me her age and that she was divorced and was a "free agent."
Some passengers talk more than others. Not a big deal. But there was more than the average information.
And she then said "I'm going to give you my card and it has my cell phone number on it."
But it turned out okay when she added, "If you know someone who's looking to buy or sell a home, please give them my card." She was simply networking. I felt soooo much better.
DID ANYONE EVER TELL YOU THAT YOU SOUND LIKE....Well, it was bound to happen. Again, it was some college students. They were headed downtown and were quite friendly. One of the young men started a conversation and a few minutes in, asked the question. "Did anyone ever tell you that you sound like Jay Walker?"
I burst out laughing and said "Yeah, I've been told that."
"OH MY GOD IT'S YOU!! WAIT TILL I TELL MY DAD!"
He asked a few questions and it was time for the dropoff. But not before I parked at his insistence so we could take pictures. He said it make his night. Mine too.
THIS, TOO, WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN--Unfortunately it was sooner rather than later. It was my second night. I had a pickup of two couples around 1:40 am from downtown. Their destination was Carencro. (Uber pays according to the mileage and the time it takes so a longer trip isn't always a bad thing.) But we hadn't gotten a half mile down the road when the woman sitting behind me got sick.
That meant it was going to be a long drive to the country in Carencro. It also meant I had to shut it down for the night. And, downtown was busy and a surge was about to kick in (if demand is high, the rate goes up.) So I was not happy.
Since I just started as a driver, I really didn't know what to do next. So I went home and got to cleaning. I won't get into detail, but it could have been worse. I finished up and took a shower and went to bed. It was nearly 3:00 am.
The next morning, I went to check on the cleaning job and saw the vehicle would be good to go . Then I saw the wallet. I looked for some sort of identification and found out she was from Alexandria. I filed a claim with UBER and waited for them to contact the person who ordered the ride. I gave UBER permission to give out my phone number. This was on Sunday morning. By Monday I hadn't heard anything and I started going through the wallet to see if there was some sort of document that might enable me to get in contact with this lady. I found a Sam's Card for Business that had her name and her place of employment. BINGO. I called and she was ecstatic to hear from me.
And very apologetic about what happened. A couple of hours later the man who ordered the ride called me. He was happy to know I had made contact with his friend.
The next night the woman's daughter drove in to pick up the wallet. Mom was very fair in compensating me for my trouble.
(Now, I have since found the proper procedure when someone gets sick. Take pictures. Send to UBER. They will survey the situation and charge the person's credit card up to $150.00 for a cleaning fee. It should be noted this woman was not the person who ordered the ride.)
MAYBE, BUT I'M NOT A CHILD MOLESTER--I use a seven passenger van. This means I can carry up to six passengers at a time. But that's it. I had a late night pickup downtown and a group came to get in the van. There were eight of them. I politely told them I was unable to carry all the passengers for lack of space. "Oh, it's okay. We don't mind doubling up."
I explained the rules were very clear. I could not transport more passengers than the allotted number of seat belts. They would have to summon another driver. The two people who got out of the van were understanding and gave no trouble.
We got to the destination (it wasn't far) and the passengers got out of the van. The young woman seated behind me said as she exited, "you're a horrible person."
Yep, that's me. Mr. horrible.
If you'd like to find out more about how UBER works (maybe you want to be a driver, or just want to learn more), feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
More next week.....