How a ride request to the suburbs became a “Murphy’s Law” pain in the neck for my riders
Admittedly, not all drivers are going after the bonuses that the companies offer us. At the time of this writing (July 2017) Lyft has static weekly bonuses that do not change. Uber’s bonuses change twice weekly. Without getting into all the details, I was near an important bonus at 2:00am on Sunday morning. In that mode of slight desperation, a driver takes every ping that comes their way as they must keep a 90% acceptance rate.
My surgeless-ping brings me near the corner of Wells and Division, an area that is full of night life. Further, I was driving an XL/Plus eligible vehicle but still get regular, less financially lucrative requests. Its a regular ride (not XL/Plus ride with a mandatory 1.5x multiplier), I wait nearly the entire 5 minutes (note: this is inconsiderate behavior) as the map begins to surge, and immediately regret not cancelling the ride.
Two dudes, and two females get in and two of them determine that they need to sit in the way back without my assistance. Putting the seat down so a rider can enter the back-backseat is a two-part process that few riders can comprehend while inebriated, and choose the most logical alternative which is to just step all over my seats and head rests. That’s what these riders did, stomped all over my seats and head rests, against my verbal warning.
The guy in the front seat promptly passes out with his forehead resting on the passenger airbag release area.
Before I even get to the first stop sign a female in the seat immediately behind me makes a verbal demand.
Female1 rider: Can you give me the Aux cord?
Driver: Sorry, I don’t carry an Aux cord. Is there something wrong with the Blues?
Female1 rider: Why not? I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and… (other bands that I don’t care to remember. Blah blah, music, Aux cord)
Driver: (muttered excruciating slow) Its. A. Choice. I don’t carry, an Aux cord.
At this point I mention that I run Pandora. So I throw on the Chief Keef Pandora station, which as you might well imagine is a platinum-level hit with many riders whom have successfully steered me away from the Chicago Blues Pandora station… Not even one (1) minute into the song and she has something to say-
Female1 rider: This is the worst (I’ve ever heard. Blah blah, I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, blah blah)
So then I amend the selection to the 1980’s Pop Pandora station. The riders begin to sing with some of the songs, but Female1 rider is pressing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and other bands that I don’t care to remember). The passive aggression was unrelenting. I had already been driving for about 8 hours and had now made the final determination that this was my last ride of my night: the suburbs have little if any demand after 10:00pm, and a deadhead ride back to civilization will be a minimum of 16 minutes.
The comatose rider in my front seat made a couple of concerning grumbling sounds which had me fantasizing about pushing him out of my car on the Eisenhower Expressway. Female Rider2 in the way back is talking on her phone endlessly about all the relationship gossip that most males would bristle at.
This had quickly turned into a one-star ride based on the amount of undue stress the riders were causing me:
- Dislike the vehicle atmosphere that I carefully procure
- Possible puker next to me
- Passive agressiveness
- Gas guzzling vehicle on a long suburban trip down I-290
Finally we exit the expressway, but we still have 9 minutes of suburban back-roads to traverse before their drop-point.
“I Ran” from Flock of Seagulls briefly cheered me up and moments later we finally arrived at the destination.
Three (3) of the passengers exit my vehicle from the back and the dead human next to my was still headbutt into my dashboard with no sign of life. Per the various conversations occurring in my vehicle, he had a flight to make in just a few hours.
The other male says he’s going to handle him, and after negotiation and cajoling by the conscious male passenger, he finally gets the dead guy on his wobbly feet only to walk in the opposite direction of his apartment complex toward a characterless parking lot. I check the back seat for belongings and proceed to exit this suburb which was lifeless and devoid of energy.
Driver thoughts: [Great. 1-Star Rating. Its over. Great. Time to drive home and sleep.]
Not even 5 minutes into the drive home I start to hear a noise in the back seat that I immediately recognized as a cell phone ringtone. And *I laughed to myself*– Aux cord, passive aggression, threat of vomit… I will not be stopping my vehicle to investigate the ringtone. It must have went off seven (7) times during my drive back home.
Dear reader, when a rider leaves something in our car, we as drivers are given wide latitude on how to return it. One advertised method is to get a mailing package sent to us, I put the item in the package, and then mail the package- I am thinking that method would take a minimum of four (4) business days to complete.
After arriving in my garage, I notified the rideshare company of the phone that was left in my vehicle. Dropped the phone in a ziplock bag and put it on my porch and emailed instructions to the rideshare company on how the errant rider should retrieve her property from under my door mat.
Without complete information this situation might not seem so bad to you. But how would you feel (as a suburbanite) about driving into one of the most dangerous and violent neighborhoods in Chicago to retrieve your property? A neighborhood that you talk about avoiding in platitudes with your friends, and never visit?
This could all have been avoided if the riders listened to me when I asked them not to sit in the way back of my vehicle. When I scanned my backseat, I would have seen the mobile phone at their destination and alerted my passengers to my finding their mobile phone- however, the way back of my vehicle was not within my view.
Would I have delivered the phone back to the riders that night before driving home? It is a real possibility! The previous month I delivered a purse to a rider’s hotel, just before 2:00a.m. In that instance I received a thank you from the rideshare company the next day. As drivers, we are not required to stop working, or what we are doing, to deliver your property back to you, should you leave it in our vehicle.
Murphy’s Law is defined as: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. You’ll lose your phone, and you’ll have to retrieve it within a run-down, crime-ridden neighborhood, deep in Chicago’s west side which has seen little outside investment since the white-flight of the 1960s.
Moral of this story: be on your best behavior in your driver’s vehicle.