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!


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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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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”.


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.


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.


“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.


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!

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).

Condensed image of entire poster
This GPS poster is available by request here

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Best Ride To Date, Woman Tells Me of How She Was Beaten Badly, Stop At the Trailer Park, And Back, Part I

This is the post excerpt.

The further I drive from the city, the farther out I eventually get from the city. Or, as I enter the adjacent suburbs there exists a great likelihood that I will enter far flung suburbs.

After several short rides, I found myself in Burbank, far from my starting location. I accepted the next ride and pulled up to the address.

As I sat patiently in the car at 2:00am, I watched as the shadow of a male walked out from the apartment complex that I was parked adjacent to. He approached my driver side window, I became uneasy, as everyone in my first 700 rides has approached a different door.

The guy then motions me to lower my window and he anxiously asks “Do you know how to get to…Trailer Park…” My response was just “…put the address in the app, I’ll get you there.”  Unfortunately I had to repeat my response a couple of ways, before our conversation concluded.

The customer was wearing an adolescent mustache and one of those straight-brimmed baseball caps that teenagers mistakenly believe to be fashionable.

From the parking lot then appeared a female figure walking toward my car. She got in, and sat directly behind me. She was my rider and not the guy with mistake of a mustache and the edgy hat- what a relief! Within a couple of moments we were stopped at a highway intersection, and our conversation got raw.

My rider told me about how her “boyfriend” beat her so brutally that he had killed the fetus growing within her. About the time that I was going to ask, she said her “ex-boyfriend” was being moved to a different prison. The guy that I met was not the perpetrator, remarkably she seemed to be mixing up the terms “boyfriend” and “ex-boyfriend”. We were probably at the stop light for about one and a half minutes, but it felt like 15. Completely uncomfortable and unable to flee from the situation, I stated,

“We’ve been waiting at this intersection for quite a while, I am just going to blow this red light”

Five minutes later we were driving around in a labyrinth trailers.


Not actual trailer park labyrinth



The rideshare app had gotten us to the correct trailer park, but now it was up to my rider to determine which trailer row, and specific trailer housed her baby. All the rows of trailers looked similar without natural sunlight and the street lighting was ambient instead of utility. We stopped at a trailer which was just as nondescript as any other, sans an obligatory patriotic flag, potted plant, or wind sock.  About 10 minutes after dropping her off, she reemerged with her one-year-old baby in a baby carriage along with that night’s babysitter, her cousin.

A baby, a 20-year old woman, and Stick Shift Lyft: we buckle-up and head back to her apartment complex.

To be continued…