Made my way through the south side and after a series of nondescript rides I received a request for 69th Street. I pulled onto the street and it was a narrow one-way with blocks of vehicles lined on both sides of the street, and off in the distance were 2 emergency vehicles (one fire truck and one police SUV) blocking the egress of the street.
Parking adjacent to the cars left of me, I flipped my hazard lights on. There was enough room for a bicycle to pass by me on the right.
Within a minute an ambulance was behind me buzzing its terrible pain-invoking sounds aggressively demanding me to move. There was a half spot in front of the nearby fire hydrant, I pulled in with my vehicle’s ass-end out. At about that time my passenger casually strolled toward my vehicle. As the unbearable noise from the ambulance had been increasing, the driver halted the stressful noise to comment over the loud speaker “TAKE YOUR TIME” to my passenger. Laughing on the inside and smiling on the outside I greeted the female passenger as she entered my vehicle.
I quickly pulled ahead about 200 feet to the waiting emergency vehicle barricade and was directed to an illegal parking spot adjacent to the situation they were tending to. My passenger mentioned that the person being tended to, must have been shot by a firearm. After she made this statement, I was left unemotional, it seemed like the person struggling on the sidewalk could have just as easily been hammered, tripped, and fell on their face.
As we were trapped on 3 sides by the emergency vehicles, my passenger opened up her window to ask the emergency responders when they would move so we could get by. They deadpanned “we don’t know yet,” right back at her. While waiting I asked her “What’s in Burbank?” The answer was her boyfriend as he had purchased the ride. I then dropped the “My Best Ride ever was in Burbank,” she didn’t bite or dig deeper; we probably waited about 4 minutes before the emergency responders politely pulled away..
A few blocks into the drive we were enjoying polite conversation when my passenger mentions that one time she was 86’d by a rideshare driver for giving “bad directions.” She told a bit of the story and then stated her boyfriend later told her to sit in the back seat, be quiet, and not give directions. She smiled and told the story with some giggles, so I didn’t internalize what was said.
Moments later she tells me that she has a better way to get to Burbank, Illinois. Great, I thought, taking local lanes 29 minutes west did not excite me either. After all, a stick shift can be lots of work when there’s a stop light every eighth of a mile!
She proceeded to direct me to take Lake Shore Drive northbound. For the next 10 minutes, the GPS kept amending its recommended route to include an immediate U-turn, go back, then head west. I had been verifying with her nearly every step of the way- ‘should I get off LSD here?’, ‘keep heading north? Okay.’
15 minutes into the ride we arrive in Bronzeville near McCormick Place and the on-ramps to the Stevenson Expressway were blocked with type-3 barricades. Unable to enter the Expressway due to road construction, I pulled to a complete stop at a green light, turned toward my rider, and asked her “where do we go now?“
Flashing a slight smirk, she closed her eyes, tilted her head, and shrugged her shoulders. It was almost cute.
31 minutes later we arrived in Burbank. Her boyfriend was charged about $7.00 more for this customized route.
The passenger essentially told me not to trust her directional advice through a related rideshare story, and I should have called her on it immediately.
Dear potential passengers, trust the Global Positioning System and the app using it. Its one of the many government projects that has considerably improved life on Earth (honorable mentions: Internet, interstate highway system).