I’m sure everyone is familiar with the rideshare service known as Uber. Whatever your opinion is on it (I’ve heard some disapproving remarks), I’ve found it an interesting way to get to know people, especially locals, while I’m traveling. I’ve only been using it for a year or so, but I’ve found it useful in places where I don’t want to drive and park my own car. Instead, I pay to have strangers pick me up in their personal cars and pray they actually take me to my destination. Just like I was taught at a child — get into a stranger’s car.
I’ve met some interesting drivers while riding Uber:
One lady owned her own farm and rented out plots of land to farmers. She also told me that some Amish people in Ohio will make dinners for tourists for a fee, and you get to have a home cooked meal with an Amish family in their own home (BTW, if you’ve never had food from an Amish smorgasbord, you’re missing out. Seriously, you don’t have to eat the rest of the day. But you’ll probably need a nap).
One guy in Hawaii flagged down his friends along the route and shouted at them through his open window (gotta love islanders).
I met a man who said his granddaughter encouraged him to start driving for Uber after he retired, since he liked to drive. And then she added, “You also won’t get that fat.”
Uber notified me via app that one of my drivers in San Francisco was either deaf or hearing impaired, so when I got in the car I greeted him loudly and waved, just to cover my bases. He smiled and nodded at me. And then I noticed that he had the radio on, so I wondered whether he could hear it, or if it was just for my benefit. I happened to like the song that was on.
My favorite thing thus far is to ask Uber drivers about the craziest fares or weirdest people they’ve had in their car. So far, a driver by the name of Harry takes the cake.
He once had a couple in the car, a man and a woman, with the woman booking the ride. It seems that the couple were arguing, resulting in the woman in tears, and the man turns to Harry and says, “Women — you can’t trust ’em. Right bro?” Harry’s exact words to me were, “I stared straight ahead like, ‘She ain’t about to give me one star, man.’ ” Another time, two guys get in the backseat of Harry’s car. As Harry started to drive, he started hearing slapping noises coming from the backseat. Harry turned around and saw the guys fighting — like, really getting into it. Why they were just slapping each other, I don’t know. When Harry pulled over to let them out, one guy went one way, and the other went another way; neither turned around. Harry also told me about how he once drove a guy around for 4 hours looking for his car. Apparently, this guy had gotten really drunk with his buddies the night before and couldn’t find his car. Harry and this guy drive around trying to retrace the guy’s steps from the night before. 4 hours later, they turned the corner from where Harry had picked up the guy earlier and found the car. The guy calls up his buddy and tells him that they’ve found the car, and the buddy told him, “Oh yeah, so-and-so parked it there last night.” When the guy asked why he wasn’t told about it, the buddy replied, “Well, so-and-so was pretty drunk last night too, so he forgot where he parked it.”
I keep collecting stories. Have you ever had a weird driver, or are you a driver who has had some weird passengers? Feel free to share — I’m sure we could all use a laugh.