When my husband first discovered Uber, we only had one car and it wasn't even ours (it was his parents') so he signed up to drive. He was driving weekend nights and tried out a few other times. After a couple of weeks, we decided to do split shifts so I signed up as well taking advantage of the driver referral bonus. I drove days, he drove nights; we didn't see a whole lot of each other, but digging your way out of a cancer battle takes all hands on deck.
My husband has been self-employed for 35 years and I've been a stay-at-home mom for 16. That coupled with his continuing cancer battle makes traditional jobs unworkable for us. We're working on getting our real estate business going again after being out of the state for a year as well as getting a couple of restaurants open with his parents so we aren't idle, just in transition.
Thanks to our tax refund, we were able to get 2 cars of our own a few weeks ago. With four children still at home, we needed something that would fit all of us. We stumbled on a Mercedes GL450 that would do that and allow me to drive for XL and Select. About a week later, we came across a BMW 7 series that was a year older than the one his parents had been letting us use, but low miles. This would allow him to continue to drive for Select.
Now, before everyone raises a stink about buying a car to Uber in, that was not the deciding factor in either of these purchases. Two nasty divorces and almost a year fighting cancer has destroyed our credit. We tried several main stream dealerships in town and were denied each time. We were finally able to get financing through two smaller dealerships and one loan was even a prime rate. Each car was the same price as what we were looking at as they are both 2010, but one owners with low miles and clean Carfax. Basically, these are cars we would have bought anyway, but they are also allowing us to drive the more profitable Uber platforms.
Being out on the road at the same time has changed the dynamic greatly and made for some interesting encounters. The plan was to drive for a bit, then meet up for lunch or dinner for a break and then drive some more. Logging out at the same time has proven more challenging than originally planned because you never know where a trip will take you so one of us has been left hungrily waiting more than once. We've had numerous missed connections trying to eek out a Starbucks run. Logging back in leads to wagers on who will get the first ping.
The bluetooth in our cars make it easy to chat while we're heading to pick up a pax or waiting for a ping. Honestly, we're mostly venting about the last pax or traffic, which is frankly cathartic and helps keep smiles on our faces for the next rider.
One of the hardest parts for us splitting shifts was all the time apart. Two years ago, we were working from home and homeschooling. A move across 5 states changed the landscape with the kids in public school and him out giving shooting lessons. It was great until the cancer came a knocking. Battling a cancer with a 17% survivability rate causes one to reevaluate priorities. Not knowing how much time you have makes you want to spend as much of it as possible with those you care about.
After driving a couple of weekend nights, we've decided that it's just not safe for me. We sort of had it in our heads that since he would be out at the same time, it would be better, but the fact is that he could be 20 miles away from me since San Antonio is so spread out and driving XL means up to 6 drunk guys in the car at once. Let's face it, I wouldn't stand a chance.
Uber isn't perfect and it's harder in some markets than in others, but since this has always been a temporary gig for us, we're trying to make the most of it and make it as fun as possible. So, until we're able to say goodbye to Uber as drivers forever, we'll do days and early evenings together and he'll take on the late night crowd while I sip wine and troll UP.
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