all from tonight:
If You Have Nothing Nice To Say...
I picked up a rider for a long ride to the far outskirts of town. a Puerto Rican guy whose family moved to town after the hurricanes a couple of years ago. a nice guy. pleasant ride. really nice conversation. but shortly after picking him up, I got pinged for another ride - a queued ride after dropping this guy off. This tells me that Uber must have been incredibly busy, with people having a hard time getting rides, because it was going to be at least 25 minutes before I made it out, completed the first trip, and then made it back for the queued pickup. speeding the entire way, I dropped the guy off at an apartment complex, found my way back out to the main road, and then started driving toward the queued pickup. About 8 minutes from the pickup, I get a notification on my phone. a text message. "pickup instructions" I think to myself. The message read: "hurry tf up yo". I pondered this as I continued driving toward the pickup for another 2 minutes, back towards the center of town. picking up a passenger who's already in a bad mood? a guaranteed low rating with no tip? "nah, fuck this guy" I decide, and then I cancelled the trip. for this passenger, probably 40 minutes wasted during the busiest time of night, when it's nearly impossible to get a ride, all because of a rude comment.
Laying Down The Law:
I got a pickup at an odd location: a Catholic church a quarter mile from a popular Friday night club. Typically this means someone started walking home, got tired, and called an Uber. or possibly they wanted a lower surge rate away from the club. I pass the church on the main drag and see no one walking on the sidewalk. I pull into the side parking lot - no one there. I send a message saying I'm at the church; where should I pick you up? no response. shortly thereafter, I call - straight to voicemail. I'm close to cancelling the ride, and then the GPS indicator pops up, showing they're across the highway, on campus. So I cross the highway, drive across a short bridge, and drive down a hill onto campus.
I see six guys stumbling down the hill. One of the guys seems to be throwing up. These can't possibly be my riders, I think to myself. My rider's gotta be underneath the bridge I just crossed. but I roll down the window anyway and ask them, "Did you guys call an Uber?" "Yo-hoho! Uber!" belligerent drunks.
"You guys called an Uber?" I ask again. Two of them stick their heads into the window. I'm convinced at this point they are not my riders.
"Could I get your name?" I ask. "WOAH! You can't ask me that! You're supposed to tell us the name on it!" they respond. "Sir, I'm going to need your name." but they keep arguing with me. I'm convinced at this point, they are trying to steal someone else's ride.
"If this is your ride, I'm going to need your name, or I can cancel the ride. It's entirely up to you." I tell them. They keep arguing with me. I mention that if they prefer, they can show me the Uber app on their phone. So one of the drunks pulls out his phone, and says "are you..." and then starts reading off my license plate from his phone. "Yes, that's me." these are my riders. "What's the rest of your plate?" he asks. "I don't know, but you can look for yourself." (it's 3 similar numbers, and I don't care to memorize them). I open the back doors. Someone drops a large sack behind me. Guys start piling in the back. The guy who's been throwing up, sits up front. I immediately hand him a trash bag as I assume he isn't done throwing up. I start to close the doors, the guy next to me opens the bag, I turn off the hazard lights, and continue rolling.
Instantly, there's a cop car behind us. He lights up, so I stop, not 10 yards from where I picked these guys up. I have no idea what's going on, but I can't imagine it's about me, unless he just didn't like me stopping in this zero-traffic road - possible I guess. I roll all the windows down and put on the hazard lights again.
A cop gets out and radios while standing behind his door. He pulls out a flashlight and shines it at the car, and then starts walking towards us. In the mean time, another cop car pulls behind the first. The guys in the car are all telling each other to shut the fuck up and not say anything, to let whichever of them do the talking if necessary. The cop walks to the back of the car and then comes around the passenger side. "What's going on?" he asks. I'm a bit confused by this, but I shout past the others and say "good evening, I had an Uber pickup here." I'm pretty sure he can see the app on my phone. He's obviously not concerned with me. He's shining his light at all the passengers. "We had an emergency call here. Did one of you set off the blue light?" goddamnit, I'm thinking to myself. One of these jackasses walked up to the emergency beacon and pressed the button. "n-No, officer! It wasn't us!" some of the passengers say. "So, it wasn't you that set it off." he says, with a tone that he doesn't believe for a second that it wasn't them. "No!" they respond. >okiedokielokie.gif He tells us we can go, so I fire it back up and start driving. Unfortunately the road takes us back past the same location in the other direction, within a few feet of the two stopped cop cars, so as we pass, I slow down, roll my window down and ask "everything good?" and they wish us a good night, stay safe, etc.
The guys are instantly accusing each other of being the one that pressed the button, but no one fesses up.
The ride takes us past Club Wafflehouse, as well as the place where one of the actual clubs had just closed. cops everywhere. people driving like idiots. people showing off their cars' capabilities and being instantly pulled over. an obstacle course of stupidity.
Along the way, I start explaining to the guys why I was so adamant that I needed the name on the ride - and the problems with both identification as well as stolen rides. The belligerent drunks argued with me the entire way, but oddly enough, the guy who was throwing up turned out to be the most sober out of everyone, and did his best to convince them that I was right.
By the end of it, half of them were just out of it, and half were apologetic for the ride. I told them it was no problem at all. As they got out, one of the guys was saying to leave the sack that was tossed in the back - saying it was mine. I told them that no, it wasn't mine. but it wasn't theirs either. what was it...? apparently one of the drunks had stolen a sandbag from the construction site next to the bridge and tossed it in the car. so the sober guys took the bag, and continued apologizing for the trip. I again told them, it was no problem. I even showed them that I was giving them 5 stars. Upon hearing that, a few of the guys started digging into their wallets to pull cash to give me a tip, and told the drunk who ordered the ride that he'd better give me 5 stars as well. all's well that ends well.
Don't Stand So Close To Me:
a pickup at a wannabe dorm right next to campus. Two girls are sitting outside, right where the GPS indicates my riders are located. I ask if one of them is [name], and they jump up. One of them stumbles toward the car, clearly drunk. the other kind of rolls her eyes at this. drunk girl slides across the back. sober girl gets in. I confirm the destination, and off we go.
I ask if they made it out anywhere tonight, and they say they have, very excited - one of the popular dance clubs. drunk girl is way too excited, super happy drunk. She says, "WAIT! Guess how old I am!?" I think for a moment. "hmmmm..... 18." "WHAT!?!! HOW DID YOU KNOW? DID UBER TELL YOU HOW OLD I AM?" I just started laughing, "No! I just didn't think you were 21, so I knocked a few years off." "Ugh! I'm so offended!" she said jokingly. "How old are you?" she asked. "37" "Really!? You give off vibes of like... 25." "Thanks? I get that a lot." "Really?" etc. etc.
I mention that she must have a really good fake. "Oh my GOD I have the best fake! I can get into any bar no problem!"
I asked if it was a good night for the two of them. It was a great night, aside from the part where drunk girl and her boyfriend apparently broke up. Suddenly I understand why drunk girl is so drunk.
"Hey! You're cute! You wanna date?" drunk girl asks me.
"I think he's already got someone" sober girl says.
"Yeah, something like that" I say.
and then drunk girl pulls herself up to my seat and reiterates that she's single.
We're less than 100 yards from the destination at this point, and I'm just sort of trying to pretend she isn't there, and so we turn in, and sober girl directs me where to go - thankfully just inside the complex.
I open the doors and thank the two of them for riding with me. sober girl gets out. Drunk girl pulls herself up so her head is right next to mine. and I'm afraid to look at her for fear she might decide to kiss me - she's that close. or she might decide to kiss the side of my face anyway. but instead she just thanks me and walks past the front of the car in the most flirtatious and seductive way imaginable, before she and her friend start giggling like crazy and walk off.