Ready for some stories?
About once every 6 months I end up with a homeless person in my car somehow. Recently my turn came up.
I pulled into a mini-mart for a pickup, 2 young women get in the car. The one in front had a bag of snacks and the one in back had a cell phone. We start down the road and the one in front opens a bottle of water and takes a drink. She closes it and opens a different bottle of water and takes a drink. Then she opens some other snack food and (carefully) eats it. No more than 3 or 4 crumbs when they got out... okay, whatever.
We head to a children's homeless shelter. As they go in, and the one in back asks if I could wait for her, she will need a ride somewhere else, won't be more than 2 minutes.
They both come back and get in the car (10 minutes later). Evidently the homeless shelter won't take the front seat girl because she is 20 yrs old. Okay, what to do now?
The good Samaritan says she doesn’t have time to go any further, she needs to write a paper, she is a college student. She suggests (to the Homeless girl) either the shelter downtown or a hospital. She is willing to pay for the ride to whichever. Homeless doesn't want to be around people. She is calm, but clearly tripping on something (or has major mental disorder, either is a possibility at this point). Homeless girl definitely prefers a hospital; not as many people.
Neither one knows where the hospitals are around there. I suggest a few, the closest being about 4 miles away. Okay, sounds good, but Samaritan has got to go, things to do, she can't come along.
I drive Homeless up to the hospital. She did a lot of hard staring at me. Not casual glances, but full on staring ... like ... premeditate murder staring. I dunno. Maybe she just thought I was hot. Or crazy. Who knows. LOTS of staring. The latter half of the ride the staring subsided but it was clear that she was talking to herself in her head, lots of jerky hand motions. No words, but it was very strange. I was thankful that she was sitting in the front seat, so if she pulls a psycho crazy Chicago-style machete attack I have a half of a chance of defending myself.
We get to the hospital and she says she is not comfortable with that hospital. Hmmm. What hospital would you like to go to? She doesn't know, she doesn't know the hospitals in this city. Hmmm. I called and texted the good Samaritan (took 4 attempts) and she finally answered, I put her on speaker, and asked what she wants to do. Samaritan tells Homeless "I can't help you any more. You need to go inside to the front desk and either get help from them, or ask them what resources they have available to help you. I can't help you anymore." (click)
Homeless seemed angry but got out and presumably went inside, I dropped her off at the Emergency entrance and went on with my night.
Wasn’t expecting a tip from Samaritan, seeing as how she is a college student AND she bought food for Homeless AND she paid for a ride already that was much longer than expected AND she had to get a different Uber back to her dorm from the shelter. But she gave me a nice tip anyway, thank you Samaritan girl!
Want to bang heads?
Picked up 3 drunks, 2 men in back and 1 woman up front. The woman is excitable and talking smack about living life to the fullest. Asks me if I want to bang heads with her. I looked at her and she did a nod-thing, motioning like we should bang our heads together. Based on her level of energy and intoxication, I could tell it would not be a soft touch; she was ready to pound nails with her forehead!
I said “No thank you, I still need to drive, but thank you for the offer.”
Is that a thing now, head butting each other for fun? Do I look like I'm wearing a football helmet?
Don’t touch my knobs!
New Year’s Eve. Snowing outside. Parties everywhere. Picking up downtown, pulled up to a giant tent. Two young women wearing practically nothing (in a snowstorm at 10:30pm) jump in the car. The one in front reaches over and twists all my climate control knobs to hot. I had a perfect balance going! Within seconds my windows are an irreparable steamy mess. WTF, you twit! GET OUT!!!
Please slow down
Picked up a very old couple. Man in front, woman in back. Woman says “Please go slow.” Man says “Yes, please go slow, she was in a car accident and has terrible anxiety on the freeway.”
The route to their house crosses a river, the only way to go is on the freeway. So I went 45 mph on the freeway (speed limits vary from 55-70) for a good 12 miles. Right hand lane, with my hazards on the whole time. They were very happy. I was thinking this would be the day I either end up getting a new car or a nice new wooden box to live in.
Every once in a while a pax will cancel the ride in progress. I think that on extremely rare occasions it is a tech glitch (Uber does have glitches they don’t like to admit to), but most of the time it is the customer trying to score a free ride by cancelling early and hoping the driver will take them anyway.
Over a Halloween weekend I picked up a young foursome that had cancelled a ride on their previous driver. The other driver dropped them off as soon as the cancel came through, four blocks after pickup, and they had to spend about 10 minutes in the pouring rain and cold, in skimpy Halloween costumes (no jackets), under a bus shelter awning, trying to avoid the homeless who were staring intently at them, waiting for their next driver (me). It was raining so hard my wipers were on full. In addition, they paid a surge for my ride.
They claimed the previous cancel wasn’t their doing, of course. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, who knows… What a way to kill your buzz after a night of drinking, lmao!
Picked up 2 young women around 10am. One completely silent, the other trying desperately to hold back tears. The second one got on the phone and called her mother. Entire story took place with plenty of crying and tears, I listened silently.
She went to a company party the night before. After the party she went to a bar with a couple co-workers. Remembers arriving at the bar, doesn’t remember anything after that.
Woke up middle of the night in some strange bed alone, in some strange apartment. Her shirt was on backwards. Her panties were on backwards. No memory, no knowledge of what had happened.
I dropped the two of them off at the police station, she was going to file a report and get tested.
Picked up a woman from a barber shop, she was leaving early because she couldn’t control her emotions.
“I just broke up with my boyfriend.”
“I think he was cheating on me.”
“He says he never cheated on me.”
“I found condoms; that’s proof, right?”
“Why can’t people be honest with each other?”
“Why can’t we just find the right person in life?”
“I’m 31 years old and I’m still living with my mother, what’s the matter with me?”
“I just need to get out of this town. I’m dying here. I need a change.”
I let her vent for a while, asking easy softball questions to make her feel better. At the end of the ride she says “You’re really sweet. I want to give you something.” She gives me some coupons good for free haircuts.
Did I mention I’ve got a shaved head?
You think you’ve had a bad day?
I drove a guy home from the airport, we got to talking about his job. He does high level adjusting for insurance companies. Whenever there is a massive amount of high dollar claims (from a hurricane or tornado, for instance) the insurance company sends out an adjuster from the other side of the country. They do this to try to minimize the possibility of insurance fraud, in case the local adjuster is related to the local insurance agent or a customer somehow.
So this guy, when he gets a call, has 12 hours to be ON SITE on the other side of the country. Doesn’t matter when, he could get a call at 10:45pm on New Year’s Eve or 2am Christmas morning, and he is off to the airport.
He does his work, and sees some of the most horrific things that mother nature has to offer. Trees through houses, cars with families in them buried alive under mud slides, home after home after home washed away in flooding, that sort of thing.
Then he flies back home and hears people complaining about how hard their life is. “My coffee was too cold this morning, now my whole day just sucks.” or “I got a flat tire last night, I think God hates me.”
I try and remember that in the big picture, I’m doing okay and it could all be a lot worse.
A cold November evening. A concert gets out, Lyft is surging up to 700% (before Lyft went to flat dollar, those ass holes), I am a block away from the epicenter of the surge.
I know that most people won’t order a ride with surge that high, so I’m not getting too ….. PING! Pickup a block away at 650% surge. Woo hoo!!!
Okay, whoa, slow down there cowboy, they will probably think about it and cancel. I’m just gonna sit here for 20 seconds. Tick tock, tick tock. Time goes by, and they didn’t cancel, so I drove a block into the massive crowd.
A young couple gets in. The woman is wearing nothing but underwear. She hugs herself, shivers, and eeks out “It’ssssssss ssssssoooooooo cccccccoooolllldddd!” She was so very thankful that I got there quickly!
Took them 1.3 miles for $42. I guess if you want to go to a concert in winter wearing just a bra and undies, then that’s what it costs!
Take me to an abandoned construction site
Picked up a young woman with a couple of (closed) buckets of some liquid, a wagon, and a bunch of rolled up posters. No destination in the Lyft app. It was late at night and she said she wanted to check out empty construction sites around town. Red flags flying in my head – shifted body position for faster access to a weapon!
Chance the Rapper was coming into town in two nights, and her job was to put up some posters around town. She wanted to put them in places where they wouldn’t be torn down for at least a week. So we aimlessly drove around to the major construction sites in the hottest parts of town, with her trying to gauge if they (construction workers) would be working over the next few days or not. Once she had 3 or 4 of them mapped out in her brain I dropped her off so she could go to work illegally putting up posters.
Days before Christmas, picked up 2 people from a bar after closing. They were the cook and bartender. They stayed after work and had a few drinks.
It was a very cold night, but they were outside smoking cigarettes waiting for me. As a non-smoker, I really despise smoke, but what can you do…
They get in the car. Their after-cig smell was overpowered by the overwhelming alcohol smell. Oh, joy!
The woman sits in front, the guy in back. The plan is to take the woman home, then the guy. We go about 3 blocks and the woman pulls out perfume and applies 4 or 5 squirts to her neck. WTF!!!
It was way too cold to roll down windows. Trying to be professional, I said “That smells nice, I just hope my next customer doesn’t have any sensitivities to ….”
She drunkenly interrupts “_____ that! _____ her!”
Thought about kicking them out on the spot. Damage was already done, so I bit my tongue and took them where they needed to go. Dropped her off. Took the guy home. As I stop to let him off, with my nostrils burning from perfume overdose, I’m ready to drop the angriest one star that I have ever given. The guy pulls out a wad of cash, and starts peeling off some money to give me a tip. Then he stops, and says “Aw, _____ it, it’s Christmas” and hands me the whole wad.
Rolled down my windows and froze for a while with smile on my face, merry Xmas!