I still remember my first Uber trip, the water bottles were available and the car was squeaky clean. I pulled up in Golden Gate Park and picked up 3 women who were going over to Lake Street. There wasn’t much conversation on that first trip but I did thank them for using Uber.
Over the past 3-1/2 years there have been thousands of conversations and the number one thing I learned is that we’re all just trying to get ahead, be happy and keep the game of life alive. Doesn’t matter if you’re one of those people streaming in and out of those corporate offices or if you’re someone like me who drives Uber for a living, we’re all in some way connected.
My connection with all my passengers has been a profound experience. It has been a privilege and an honor to take people to and from their destinations, really it has.
There was the multi-millionaire from Marin who was recently diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. I was able to relate to him on a level most couldn’t because of my being shot back in 1980. Facing death is a life-altering experience. It makes you free and helps you realize that tomorrow is never promised.
I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. –ETIENNE DE GRELLET, Quaker missionary
There was that 2nd year law student who hopped in my car and then suddenly burst into tears when I noticed her looking a little sad and asked “What Happened?”. She just wanted to be heard. That’s all any of us really need. To be heard is very therapeutic.
There was the security guard I picked up and drove him to his house in Bayview. He was so proud that he was able to support his wife and 3 children. I so wish him well.
I’ll never forget to 2 young women who were discussing their rent. The first said to the second “I don’t think my paying $1750 vs. your $1600 is worth it.” Me: Do you live together? Them: Yes. Me: How much is your rent? Them: $8,000. Me: How many roomates? Them: 5. Me: 5 into 8k is only $1600 each. Why is your’s $1750? Her: I got the closet. Wow!
Or the guy from Ireland, every other description was “bloody breeliant”, he was great. It was fun to watch each of the 3 other women I picked up as part of a pool ride tryn to hit on him …. it was “bloody breeliant”. lol.
Then course there was the new comer from New York who screamed at his girlfriend the entire trip from the Sunset to the Palace hotel. He was the only guy I ever had to stop the car and ask for him to get out. West Coast Style.
There were the couple who showed up outside an after hours club one very early Sunday morning who were wearing only wings (they were angels). They were so high they asked me if my car could fly and they made me guess where they were going. I guessed Berkeley. I was right!
And how about the woman who was waiting in the red zone in front of Glen Park BART station, I called as I was arriving and asked her to move to the white zone and then I went around the block. When I got back she was still in the red zone and I rolled past her and stopped in the White Zone. She was angry that I didn’t stop on the corner for her and started screaming at me. I told her I didn’t drive screaming people and let her out. Turns out she worked for Uber so I only got 1 star.
One time I got these 2 Middle Easterners and they were playing this crazy music very loud from both of their phones and singing at the top of their lungs the whole trip from Oakland to Fremont. I think they were trying to intimidate me cause they were giving me bad looks when I looked back in my mirror. When we pulled into their destination they turned their phones down a little bit and I said “Nice singing!, Thank you for using Uber!”, they smiled.
There were these 4 drunk techie guys going to Outside Lands who insisted on using my AUX cable to play this horribly (and LOUD) music. When we got near Sharon Meadow they asked me to stop but I pretended not to hear them. They turned the music down and said they wanted to get out. I continued to ignore them. Then they said pull over here and then I said, “Oh, I didn’t hear you. I’ll pull over a few more blocks up where it’s safe.” One Star.
Then there was this creepy guy that was in town for the JP Morgan conference. I dropped him off at a private airstrip (in an undisclosed location). I asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a traveler.