Pooling to Alexandria
I took Uber Pool back to Alexandria with George (not real name) and two other riders. George is a student who drives on the weekend to help pay the bills. Driving gives him flexibility, but the weekends are not without challenges.
Bryan: Hi everyone. Where are you headed to?
Hannah: We’re going to the Escape Room in Old Town.
Bryan: That’s where they lock you in a room and you have to solve puzzles until you can figure out how to leave?
Sarah: Yes, but they have different scenarios.
Bryan: And you are in the room with other people you haven’t met before?
Hannah: I think so.
Bryan: That reminds me of a play by Jean Paul Sarte called “No Exit”. Three people find themselves in a room together and they aren’t sure why. Eventually they realize they are in hell and that everyone’s hell consists of other people. I don’t think I’d like to be locked in a room with people I don’t know.
Sarah: Hopefully, it is a good group and they don’t lock us in there overnight or anything like that!
Bryan: Have you been driving for Uber a long time, George?
George: About a year. If I have spare time during the week, I’m studying. So on Friday and Saturday I begin in the afternoon and work very late to make some extra money. The flexibility helps me because I can start and finish when I want.
Bryan: Have you had a lot of funny experiences driving on weekends?
George: Not really funny. More strange than funny.
Bryan: Because people have been drinking?
Sarah: I’ve been in Uber Pools late at night where the other person just falls asleep.
George: That happens. Or people throw up.
Bryan: That’s terrible. Maybe you could put some plastic bags back there – you know, like they have in the seat pockets for airplane passengers.
George: I don’t know if that would help. They always tell you they are going to be fine. I would pull over if they asked me to. One lady said she was ok, threw up in the back of my car, and then tried to pretend like she didn’t do it.
Sarah: Did you report it to Uber?
George: No, I didn’t want her to get a bad rating.
Bryan: That’s nice of you but I’m sure you couldn’t work any more that night and you had to get your car cleaned. Other drivers tell me Uber automatically charges the rider a fee when that happens.
George: Maybe next time I’ll do that.
Bryan: Any other strange experiences with passengers?
George: Sometimes it is not even the passengers. I was picking up two people on Fourteenth Street late at night and a homeless man followed them to the car. He was demanding money and they kept saying they didn’t have any. Then he asked me for money and I said I didn’t have any either – which was true, as an Uber driver why would I have any cash on me? He slammed the back door shut really hard and then he spat in my face through the window.
Bryan: Sorry to hear that. That’s tough to deal with.
George: Yeah, I thought about getting out – but what am I going to do to a homeless person that is worse than how things already are for him? When people provoke me I just remind myself that I am working. If it doesn’t keep me from working, then it is not a big deal. If it does keep me from working, then I need to resolve the situation.
Hannah: That’s us over there.
Bryan: Hope you both make it out!