My Life With Uber: Part 6 – From the Bird’s Nest
Driving for Uber has, overall, been a positive experience. And, from time to time I like to share the experience with everyone. In this installment, I renew old acquaintances, go to a place I couldn't find without a GPS if you paid me and, for the first time, I'll share a downside experience.
I THINK THEY'RE PLANNING A HOSTILE TAKEOVER--Airport pickups are frequently interesting. And, recently I had one that still has me curious. I picked up three people at the airport. They were traveling light. It was two men and a woman. Neither one of the men was with the woman, relationship wise. They asked many questions during the ride from the airport to near River Ranch. The man in the front seat said Los Angeles was his home. They were impressed by River Ranch and asked what a house would cost in that area, and asked about different square footage. One of the men said "maybe my dream home is here." They said they had dinner reservations about 45 minutes and asked if I would take them to dinner. I told them I'd try to be in the vicinity (you can't request a specific driver with Uber.) I picked them up at 6:45. They had asked about other affluent areas of town and I took them through the West Bayou Parkway area on our way to dinner. Again, a remark was made about buying a house here. I didn't want to pry too much into their business, but my guess is that they were in town meeting as investors in something. Or, may be they're planning to take over the city by force and build a castle in River Ranch. Either way, I'm still pretty curious.
JUST DON'T MAKE ME GO BACK THERE--Here's one of those "thank God for turn by turn instructions" stories. I had a passenger that I picked up at the Grand Theater. His destination was New Iberia. (He obviously wanted to see "It" badly.) It was about 1:30 in the morning when I picked him up. After the dropoff I headed back to town but I wasn't even back in Lafayette Parish when I got a notification for another pickup. And, it's a darned good thing I had turn by turn directions. It was out somewhere i the vicinity of Cade...sorta. I finally got there and picked up two men and a woman. They were headed to somewhere between Broussard and Youngsville. During the trip the woman told me there were times they were out at that particular friend's house and couldn't get an Uber. Gee, I couldn't imagine why. I told her I was coming back from New Iberia and then it made more sense to both of us. I also found out they were country music fans, specifically Classic Country Saturday Night on 97.3 The Dawg. I know that because the woman asked me "what the hell are you listening to?" It was Alt Nation. I changed the channel. And, I found out that it isn't only women who like Taco Bell as drunk food after 2:00 am. The funny part is, the man who wanted to live mas, married to the woman in the front seat, had cooked pastalaya for everyone at the get together. The ingredients cost $60 bucks. He didn't eat....presumably because the thought of Taco Bell was more appealing.
THE SERVERS NEED A LITTLE PLAYING TIME, TOO--You know when you see someone and you know you know them but can't figure out from where? It happened recently. I picked up several people at Corner Bar. One was a young woman I recognized. But it didn't click. Finally I just turned to her and said "I know you. How do I know you?" She smiled and said she waited on me many times at Walk-Ons when we did the coaches' shows there. And, the young woman next to her was another server who waited on me more than once. We had a nice visit as we headed downtown. The next day, I heard from one of them. She left a voicemail saying she believed she left her keys in my car. I didn't see them at first, but sure enough, they were between the seats in the back. I called her and let her know I had her keys, and delivered them to her at work about an hour later. That made her a happy girl.
MY FIRST IRRITATING EXPERIENCE--I had a notification to pick up someone at a nightclub. It was a Saturday and it was after 1:00 am. I pulled up in front of the door and after a couple of minutes I called to say I was there. "Be out in a minute." Well, about ten minutes weht by. Uber was in a surge time where rates were higher. And, I was just sitting there (although Uber starts charging the rider after two minutes, the wait fee is miniscule.) I called again and again it was "be right out." So, here they come. It was, I think, five people. Two people, however, had cups with liquid in them.
Now, Lafayette has an open container law. And it applies to everyone in the vehicle, not just the driver and front seat passenger. I don't know if everyone follows the law, but I do. One of the women had a plastic cup she brought out of the bar. I explained the law to her and she said "it's water." Now, it may have been. But I have had experience with passengers spilling in my car and as a result, I don't even allow an open container of water if it's after a certain hour (because it's more likely the passenger has been drinking, raising the possibility of spillage. The man who ordered the vehicle said he wanted to cancel the ride...after I drove across town...and waited for 15 minutes...during a surge time. He did compensate me for the time after he saw how displeased I was and that made it good with me. I cancelled the ride and made sure he wasn't charged.
But we weren't quite finished.
Another woman gave me a mini lecture on how generous they are and how much they tip and how much money I lost by being stubborn. I simply told her I don't allow open containers, sorry and told her to gave a great night. She wasn't happy. I get it.
As it turned out, I had three more pickups before shutting it down. All were during a surge time. I more than made up for what I "lost" on that trip.
Now, I'm going to take part of the blame on this one. I absolutely feel justified in not allowing the open container. But, I used to carry some bottled water in my car. I quite doing it because no one ever used it. If I had, I could simply have offered her an unopened bottle of water in exchange for her getting rid of the open container. That would have worked.
Unless, of course, it wasn't water in her cup.
WHICH LEADS ME TO THIS....It's only common courtesy not to order an Uber until you're ready to use it. One of the things Uber prides itself in is the ability to have a driver to your location in a short time. If you get notified your driver has arrived and you or other members of your party still haven't closed their bar tab or someone decided at the last minute they needed the restroom (when there's a line to get in), or you see your driver, but you have to finish your conversation, hug everyone in sight and take a selfie before you finally get in the vehicle, don't question why your driver isn't quite as friendly and outgoing as some others you may have had. While Uber does start charging for wait time after two minutes, it's not very much at all. Honestly, I shouldn't even have to type this. As drivers, we have to rate every rider. There's a good chance your rating won't be what you hoped if you leave your driver waiting for more than a few minutes. As I said, common courtesy.