Murphy’s Law, and why you should mind your manners with your rideshare driver

How a ride request to the suburbs became a “Murphy’s Law” pain in the neck for my riders

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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.

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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)

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Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Blood Sugar Sex Majik” is overrated

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.

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O M G! That’s what she did when he said what?!

This had quickly turned into a one-star ride based on the amount of undue stress the riders were causing me:

  1. Dislike the vehicle atmosphere that I carefully procure
  2. Possible puker next to me
  3. Passive agressiveness
  4. 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.

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“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.

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Enjoy that flight

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?

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Chicago’s 15th police district is action-packed!

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.

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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.

Great Uber Pool Story From A Fantastic Rider

A recent rider shared an outstanding Uber Pool ride story that he experienced

Sharing Line/Pool stories

Recently I had the privilege to drive an excellent listener and storyteller, whom was also a full-time physician. I think we improved each other’s lives by riding together.

We briefly discussed the differences between Lyft and Uber. I told him my story, and he told me the below story, and we were having a roaring good time!

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He ordered up an Uber at around 5:00pm in the evening on a weekday about a month ago while in Hinsdale. Uber had recently changed the interface on the app which will explain some of the issues with this ride.

He sees his driver pull away from his location, but is able to successfully flag him down and then sees that there already sits a female passenger in the vehicle (in her 50s, blonde, suburban housewife).  He’s never ordered an Uber Pool before, but why not give it a chance.

For some Uber customers the Uber app’s default riding option became Pool instead of UberX after the app was recently updated, and I have heard this from other riders in the past.

He gets into the car and greets his driver by telling the driver his name.

Who am I Pooling with Today?

Since it was his first time riding in a Pool he had questions:

  1. where are we going first?
  2. when do I get to my destination?
  3. who am I sharing a ride with?
  4. how does Uber Pool work?

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He asks his driver a series of questions and immediately determines that English is not a language that his driver is familiar with.  Also, the female passenger next to him is worrying him as there is definitely something wrong with her.  As a physician he is typically able to determine if someone is intoxicated, on recreational drugs, or mentally ill, and he can’t quite figure her out.

He starts to ask the blonde suburban mom where she’s going, what her name is, and a few other questions pertinent to the ride.

Her: Yes.

Yes

She answered “yes” to every single one of his many questions!

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After this big reveal, the driver communicates to him that he’s going to find where to drop off the blonde passenger.  The rider then puts the puzzle together.  His driver was searching for him and asked people as they walked by, “are you _____”, and this woman answered “yes” and got into the vehicle. The best part, in my opinion, was the rider’s unusual name and this woman agreed that it was also her name when asked.

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He determines that he needs to be in a public place and get the authorities involved. He announces to the driver that he’s calling 9-11, the driver doesn’t like the idea, but the rider retorts that “…this is the only way that this ends well.

Mall Cop response

He calls 9-11 and they are at the Oakbrook Mall surrounded by 2 mall cops and 2 police cruisers.  The blonde was passed out drunk on his shoulder.

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The mall cops proceed to ask the rider, “What were you doing with her?

My rider was astonished that a suburban mom could be piss-drunk at 5 in the afternoon on a weekday. While I agree that one shouldn’t become blackout drunk until at least 8:00pm on a weekday, the biggest issue for me is this Uber Pool driver just picked up a random person and prioritized her drop-off ahead of his paying customer.

Have some standards, buddy!

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What Happened When My 4.2 Starred Rider Accused Me Of Battery And Refused To Exit My Car, or The Worst Possible Customer in the World

My rider had a 4.2 rating and I accepted the ride which turned out to be a mistake as I ended up calling 911

Before I accepted the ping

In the previous week I had 2 Line / Pool rides where the rider made a decision to not count their infant baby as a human. At those moments I exhibited a scarcity mentality (regarding rides), did not challenge the rider, and drove them to the arranged location.

On this day, I ended up in Evanston during a busy college tavern time and I was happy until my next Line/Pool ride took me out of Evanston and into the far north side. They were fine except it was 3 people, yet 2 people is the maximum in a Line/Pool. That act got under my skin. I scored them 3.0 stars and left a note in the app purposing my score.

Immediately after dropping them off at a tavern, I received a new ping.

Rating of 4.2 Stars

The next ping had a rating of 4.2 stars.  This is the lowest rating that I have ever seen and yet, I smirked and said to myself ‘this will be fun’ as I accepted the ping. (What a horrendous decision that was!!!)

It is difficult for me to stress to you how abysmally low a 4.2 star rating is, except to say that I don’t recall seeing anything lower than a 4.6 or a 4.7.

Allow me tell you, dear reader, I can easily tell the difference between a 4.9 and a 4.8 rated rider.  The gulf between the two is immense; a 4.7 will drop backhanded compliments and have insults sprinkled into conversation. 4.7‘s often lack standard socialization and conversational skills.

The app made a recommendation to me

My rider comes to the car with an infant carrier in tow.  She plunked the carrier in the middle of my back seat without securing it as she didn’t have a base to secure it (FYI: that’s illegal in Illinois).

When riders get into my vehicle on a Line/Pool ride, I need to select “1 passenger” or “2 passengers” so the app can correctly route me to more riders during the trip.  This is so the app understands how many people are in the vehicle and how many more people are eligible to be added.  I pressed “2 passengers” on the app, and the app responds with “the passenger must cancel the ride” or something to that affect.

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A metaphoric bomb exploded when I told her to cancel the ride

A metaphoric bomb exploded in my vehicle when I politely told her that she would need to cancel the ride as she and the baby are two people.

In less than 30 seconds she veered from loudly complaining that she shouldn’t be charged and blathering about how I was going to take her home to general incoherence.

So I cancelled the ride.

The bomb became nuclear when I told her to get out of my car as the ride was cancelled

I told her that she needed to get out of my car, and she outright refused!

What would you do if someone refused to get out of your vehicle?

“STOP HITTING ME!” “DON’T PULL ME OUT OF THE CAR!” “DON’T HIT MY BABY!” “YOU’RE HURTING ME!” “I’M PREGNANT! DON’T HURT ME OR MY BABY!” was all screamed toward me in a foreign accent.

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As the situation escalates, what do you do?

Fight, Flight, or Freeze?

I froze.

Its at this point that I realize that I am dealing with the worst type of an excuse for a human. The probability of me being arrested or spending the night in jail had increased to somewhere around 1 in 100. I hadn’t touched her or made a motion toward her.  I simply cancelled the ride and told her to exit my vehicle.

(As of this writing, I see that her ride would cost her about $7.00.)

My decision tree was limited at this point.

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The wretched human in my backseat then faux called 9-11 (I later figured this out based on context), and she complained to the ghost operator that I was beating her and her infant child. It was surreal.

She then called her husband and kept pushing her phone at me while shouting “TALK TO MY HUSBAND!”

Me: “Nah, I’m not talking to him.” [twice]

Why would I talk to someone who willfully married a mentally unfit sociopath? What helpful insight could that person provide to me during this nightmare?

Difficulties on the telephone; can you hear me now?

During her shouting episode, I tried calling the rideshare emergency help line. After waiting for 3 minutes to speak with someone, I hung up, and dialed 9-11 and exited my own vehicle. By the way, she was still screaming at me which made it nearly impossible to tell if the voice on the line was a live person or a recording, which necessitated me abandoning my property.

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I gave the 9-11 operator the wrong address and the dispatcher hollered at me as the address I gave her was not in Chicago. I asked a passerby for help, and he did give me the address and seemed mildly interested in assisting me. Because I was carrying on 2 conversations, and I determined that the 9-11 call was paramount, the passerby eventually moved along.

Make her ears bleed?

After the call to 9-11 I got back in the car only to be berated further.  I thought about what I could do to make sitting in my car an uncomfortable experience- the only thing that popped into my brain was turning on the Pantera Pandora channel and blaring it to uncomfortable levels.  Lucky for her, she had her infant in the vehicle, so this idea did not enter the implementation stage.

Chicago Police arrived!

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A Chicago Police cruiser pulled ahead of me relatively quickly.  After exiting my vehicle and flagging them down, the officer on the passenger side rolled down her window, and I explained the circumstances:

  1. I’m a rideshare driver
  2. I cancelled the ride
  3. She won’t get out of my car
  4. She falsely accused me of bludgeoning her and her infant
  5. I called 9-11

The Chicago police quickly consulted and questioned both me and the cancelled passenger. She says something about the $5.00 cancellation fee and both the officers look at me like I have her 5 dollar bill in my back pocket to hand right back to her.

Me: “That’s between her and the rideshare company.”

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The Police get both of our stories and confer with one another.

Dear reader, how should the Chicago Police handle this situation?

What’s the solution to this ridesharing dilemma?

The Chicago Police suggested to the passenger that they transport her and her infant in its infant car seat (without its base) to her destination in their CPD SUV. This was 100% what I was hoping for.

Yet she refused the officers’ solution and continued to refuse to exit my vehicle. Rather, she demanded that I, the rideshare driver (whom she outrageously and wrongfully alleged had committed violence against her AND her infant), drive them home. Seriously, WTF?!

Please diagnose her mental condition in the comment section below.

The male officer comes back to me and speaks under his breath about how she’s accused me of some serious stuff and that if I drive her, they’ll tail me and intervene should their assistance be warranted.  He followed up the solution with a final comment about not egging her on.

Me: “I just want this nightmare to end.”

I drove the mentally unstable sociopath passenger and her infant to their home. The Police followed, as promised. I turned Pandora off and said nothing on the 8 minute trip to her home. Somewhere in the middle of the ride she complained about the potholes I had run over. That’s indicative of why she’s a 4.2.

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I dropped the passenger off and she thanked me/someone (!). I never even looked in the rear-view mirror so I think its just as likely that she was talking to her invisible friend on the sidewalk.

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The Police debriefed me after I dropped her off and said that this type of work- rideshare driving- was a poor vocational choice on my part as there exist many illogical, impossible, manipulative, and unruly passengers, just like her.

More time wasted on the telephone

I drove to a nearby parking lot and called the rideshare emergency help line.  While on hold, I typed out a ‘help email’ to the rideshare company, because why not?  After being on hold for 9 minutes I talked to a representative for 20 minutes.

If its an emergency, shouldn’t you pick up within the first 3 rings?

During the call and in my ‘help email’, I listed out all the issues that I need addressed. Over 80 hours, and 4 followup emails later, and I have heard zero from the rideshare company.

My thoughts on the riders

That infant and the supposed embryo have a tough road ahead.  The genes they have inherited are deficient and their environment is a septic tank of awful manners, horrendous communication, and the worst of humanity.

Please leave a comment and mental diagnosis of the passenger described, in the comment section below:

 

Suffering through the Holiday Season

A rider left her beloved family just before the holidays to treat her addiction

2 days before December 25, 2016 I drove a delighted dad to a BMW dealership in the northern suburbs.  We stopped at his bank first where he either acquired a substantial cashier’s check or other currency for a down payment on his new vehicle.  We enjoyed a fantastic conversation about his 2-year old son and his 6-year old daughter. He had determined that baby boys and baby girls are very different and described his son as a “wild animal”.

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Further he indicated that his wife had a birth control injection which should have prevented her from having anymore children, after her daughter…

Before leaving the dealership, I turned on both rideshare apps, hoping that a request would hit in the next 15 minutes.  Being so far north, miles from civilized society where there exists 10,000 people per square mile, rideshare is less popular and riders (also adventures) are often scarce.  Before I was out of the dealership parking lot I accepted a request.  The way to the pickup location was 7 minutes, which left plenty of time for a cancellation.

Suburbia is so strange and nuanced .  The drivers in Winnetka are apparently lazy or angry about scratched bumpers, as there were twin parking spaces buttressed by X’d out “no parking” spaces.  In other words a curb that could easily house 20 parked vehicles could now legally park about 12 vehicles due to the “no parking” restrictions.  All the parking spots near my pickup location were taken.  Simply put, my determination was to misunderstand the suburb’s intent, and then I double-parked with my hazards flashing.

The people who honked at me ought to rethink the artificial scarcity of parking spots in their suburb.

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While illegally parked I reviewed the profile picture of my rider hugging her daughter closely. It was clearly a loving embrace.  Further, and to my complete elation, my rider was headed back to the heart of Chicago! It was a perfect match, as I wouldn’t need to endure more misplaced suburban parking angst.

After 3 minutes of waiting my rider arrived to my vehicle with a large suitcase and wearing a Chicago Police stocking hat.

After she got in I thanked her for taking me back to Chicago, and we were on our way. I knew the area where she was heading and inquired if she was going to the Green Line stop. She responded that it was nearby.

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“Are you a police officer?” I asked- she responded that it was only a “warm hat”; even before that comment it seemed she was not interested in talking and didn’t force anything. Despite the lack of dialogue in the vehicle, I pointed out a few interesting things including a 5′ tall snowman in Humboldt Park that hadn’t yet melted, but nothing seemed to elicit a smirk.

43 minutes after the trip started I was dropping her off at The Women’s Treatment Center.

At that point it hit me that she left her family just ahead of the holidays to seek addiction treatment.  I thought about her daughter in her profile picture and how she hugged her, and how impossibly difficult it must have been for her to leave her family to seek addiction treatment during that time of year. She is a strong woman and I hope her treatment is successful.

Birth of Stick Shift Lyft

The same night that I had my Best Ride, I had a realization of my purpose of driving rideshare. The purpose of driving rideshare was apparent to me after that night and I only needed to find the time to pursue that purpose.

Shortly after I accepted the ride request I patiently waited at the end of a moderately long driveway for my riders.  The area was a sort of subdivision without the typical cookie-cutter, prefabrication qualities that are normal to see in suburbia.

There were 3 dudes and each seemed to be walking/ galloping/ skipping toward my vehicle at a different pace.  The riders then made the difficult decision for themselves to not all sit in my vehicle’s diminutive back seat after giving it a try.

They were pre-gaming  where I had scooped them up and I could already tell that this 12 minute ride was going to be fun for all of us. One guy seemed emotionally subdued, one was outlandishly hyper, and the third one was a little of both. The hyper one sat in the middle of the back seat straddling the backseat console with both hands on the front seat headrests.  The middle of the back seat is the best seat in the car, I guess?

Without missing much of a beat the hyper guy asked me if I had cocaine to sell them. At this point they were probably looking for the double-secret-code-response that all cocaine moguls respond with, but I clearly didn’t know it.  They signaled to each other that they would be able to find some at the bar/tavern/club that I was taking them to.

There was constant conversation between the hyper dude, myself, and the others in my vehicle for the next several minutes. At this pivotal point, as the hyper dude is bouncing in the middle back seat, he notices that I shifted from 2nd to 3rd gear with my stick shift.  He howled over the idea that my compact vehicle had a stick shift and demanded that I downshift when I slowed down.

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These guys thought my stick shift was completely hilarious, heck I thought it was hilarious as I was shining a toothy grin during the entire exchange.

Admittedly it was a big night in the southwest Chicagoland suburbs. A great night that has fueled my creativity, passion, social commentary, and love of stories. Blame the guys whom begged me to sell them cocaine for the Stick Shift Lyft blog!

Anxious, scared, and on edge while waiting for a passenger

The only ride request to date where I was overly anxious about picking up my rider

On Friday, October 21, 2016 a Lyft driver was shot multiple times during a robbery on Chicago’s west side. From the article:

About 7 p.m. Friday, a 23-year-old man was shot in the 5000 block of West Monroe Street in the Austin neighborhood, a police spokesman said. The victim was a Lyft driver who was shot as many as four times, including at least once in the stomach, a source said.

The man was in a vehicle and stopped when someone on foot approached and announced a robbery before firing shots and fleeing. The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.

Think about that for a second.

Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds, it is completely ridiculous, and it borders on malpractice by a criminal. Rideshare drivers have no need to carry cash or anything of value.  I might have as much as $2.63 in change scattered throughout my vehicle, and not in one easily accessible location. Did this clown-criminal think he was going to swipe the Lyft driver’s phone so the police could track him down and arrest him?

The clown-criminal could engage in almost any other criminal conduct and come out better than robbing a rideshare driver. Robbing a panhandler begging for change on the interstate off-ramps would offer a better ROI.

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That Sunday, which was October 24, 2016, I had accepted a pickup that was on the 4900 block of West Monroe Street, a block away from the ominous location of the attempted robbery.  This was after midnight and I had full knowledge of the shooting that occurred only a couple of days prior.

I began to feel extremely anxious and employed the following atypical behavior:

  • Locked the doors
  • Parked in the middle of the street, so I could watch my mirrors, and where I was being approached
  • Turned off my music, so that I would be more aware
  • Kept the manual transmission in 1st gear, with the clutch engaged, to take off quickly should I have needed to activate my “flight response”

As the minutes passed, and the longer that I waited, the more anxious I became. It got to the point where I was sure that I waited the requisite 5 minutes, heck it was probably 10 minutes!  I hit “rider no-show”, effectively cancelling the ride request and scurried away as quickly as I could.

Just as I turned off West Monroe Street, I received a second ping from the same person at the same address.  Nah, F*CK THAT (I thought). After denying the ride I turned the rideshare app completely off until I had escaped the immediate vicinity of the ping.

After a series of emails, I found out that I did not wait the requisite 5 minutes at 4900 West Monroe Street and that the rideshare company was not going to compensate me for lost time- I even inquired about hazard pay while forwarding the article, which was not acknowledged in the rideshare company’s final email response back to me. Asking for hazard pay was a ‘shot in the dark’ as rideshare customer service is a gravity well where only a tiny bit of useful information successfully escapes.

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Peering back, the whole episode was odd.  I don’t regularly read the police blotters. The feeling of anxiousness is usually a dull emotion within me; I can’t recall feeling that emotion with that level of intensity. And I have lived in the same Austin neighborhood for over 10 years, so I had something in common with the would-be passenger.

Please leave a comment below of something that unexpectedly made you anxious.

 

 

 

The implications of giving your driver poor directions

Why rideshare riders should be quiet and let the GPS do the work

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.

Customized route to Burbank from 69th

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).

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This GPS poster is available by request here

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