Uber Adventures

Image from Phys.org

I teased you a while back saying that I had some good Uber experiences to share with you. I apologize for keeping you waiting.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am not the most driven of drivers (just assume that all of my puns are intended). I only give a few rides a month, usually on my lunch break when I don’t have anything else to do. Somehow, I still manage to have some very interesting individuals each time.

Perhaps if I drove more often, I would become numb to the weirdness. Maybe that’s reason enough to do it sparingly – the weirdness provides solid writing material.

We have had Uber in Springfield for over a year now, but many people are still new to the ride-hailing app. I’ve had a few first-time users and they always ask: “Should we tip you?” The answer I give is very humble and polite, but of course my preferred answer would be “40% is pretty standard” or something
like that.

Usually I am honest and tell them it is optional, but tips are not included in the base fare. Tipping is rare, but always appreciated.

Driving ladies in my Charger since the mid/late 2000’s

One ride that caught me off guard happened pretty early in my driving tenure. I picked up a young woman visiting from Florida at a sushi restaurant and she sat in the front seat. Usually the only individuals that go for the front seat or solo male riders, but that isn’t what caught me off guard.

“Can I use dat auxiliary cord?” I obliged and gave her full control of music duties. We bumped to some pretty heavy rap the whole way to her destination. Not the weirdest ride I suppose, but it was certainly unexpected.

It wasn’t nearly as stressful as driving a very pregnant lady to her job. Again, not the strangest ride, but I went through so many scenarios in my head that involved me delivering a baby in my backseat. Such are the fears of the Uber driver.

I realized another fear of an Uber driver when the app took me to wrong destination during another ride. I had picked up a couple of gentlemen at the mall, once they figured out how exit the building. One was Polish and the other was British – they were in town for a conference.

The app does not do a great job of telling you your destination, but I eventually deduced that we were headed for the airport. We talked on the way about European weather, currency differences, global communication for business, and the like. I was enjoying the conversation and just blindly following the route, even though I know how to get to the airport…

It took us to a locked gate at the very back of the airfield. It required a 10 minute detour to get back around the whole thing. Luckily they didn’t seem to be late, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a tad embarrassing. I stopped charging them of course once I realized the mistake. They still gave me the most
generous tip I’ve ever received. Long live the Queen.

Foreign individuals make up a decent demographic of the daytime riders. I took a fellow Uber driver from Chile to get a haircut. He thought I spoke Chilean because I said “gotcha”. Apparently “cotcha” essentially means “cool” in Chilean. I’m more worldly than I realized.

There is certainly local flavor as well, from known radio hosts to a pair of Springfield Cardinals headed for the pool, after Brown Derby of course. Only one spoke English. I assume they both made it to the big leagues since then.

I have a couple of my most interesting trips still in my back pocket. They are long, so they will likely require their own blog post each. Stay tuned, people. Check out some of the stuff below to see what I’ve been up to and why my posts have been more sporadic recently. I’m going to try and ramp it back up, so thanks for checking in and I hope you’ll be back!

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