Dealing with Difficult Passengers
To work for Uber or Lyft, one needs to be a good driver but it also helps to have people skills. I asked drivers how they deal with people who are intoxicated and/or difficult and whether they had any examples of challenging situations. Their responses follow but names have been changed:
Jean: I was on the highway with three women who had been drinking heavily. They got into an argument and the one in the front seat demanded that I pull over and drop off the other two. The thing is we were on the highway so I wasn’t about to do that. Eventually they worked things out, but even if they hadn’t, I probably would have driven them around until they did.
Ernest: I picked up somebody once who was obviously intoxicated. She got into the car and accidentally cancelled the ride. Every time she would try request a ride with the application she would get another driver. She tried that several times and then said she would just give me cash. I explained she would have to tell me where we were going since I wouldn’t be able to use GPS. I was following her directions and eventually realized she was taking us around in circles. And then she fell asleep in the driver’s seat and she wouldn’t wake up. I pulled over and was thinking about getting her a coffee or something. She eventually put one of her friends on the phone who helped me figure out how to get to the destination. Oh, and she didn’t have change when we arrived.
Sarah: I accepted a call from a neighborhood I felt like I shouldn’t have gone into but I still did. Instead of one guy there were three and I was worried I might get robbed. I saw them whispering and it made me feel uncomfortable so I got out of the car, said I needed to make a phone call, and called the police. The police came and it turned out ok. But the company told me if a passenger ever makes me feel like I may be in danger then I should go to a police station, park, and handle it from there.
Ray: All the time, intoxicated passengers. At first I didn’t know how to deal with it, but I have been driving weekends so much that I feel like I deal better with the drunk passengers sometimes. Drunk people are still people. Make them feel welcome and listen to them. They just want to have a fun time but sometimes the emotions come out – you can read their feelings when they get in the car.
Jamal: Many of my passengers are drunk, especially on the weekend. I always try to stay calmer than they are. I need to be ready to pull over very quickly if it seems they are going to throw up. I also keep plastic bags in the car they can use so they don’t throw up on the floor.
Javier: You don’t need to be drunk to be difficult. Most of the drunk passengers are fine. What bothers me most is when people enter the address, I go to that address, they insist it is the right address, but I am there and they are not. Then I have to go to where they really are once they make the correction but I have wasted time and gas.
Pasquale: Drunk people never give me any problems. During the weekends, they just want to have a good time. So I turn the music up really loud for them and they love that! Sometimes someone might feel like they have to throw up and hopefully they give you enough time to pull over. If they put their head outside and throw up on the car, you can always wash the car. The problem is if they vomit in your car. That happened to me once. If someone vomits in your car, you have to call (the company) and then they charge a lot of money to that person’s account – because when that happens it means I can’t work anymore that night and I need to get the car professionally cleaned as soon as I can. Apart from that one time, there haven’t been any issues though. People are generally cool.