My 5:30a.m. Monday morning ride was unusually exciting: crotch punches and presumably nightclub PEDs by a couple that had not slept yet

My most exciting Monday morning ride included crotch punches!

Monday mornings are often a drag

Starting the day driving rideshare super-early can be a drag, or it can be invigorating, it’s what one makes of it.  After doing a rather quick carpool, I was in downtown Chicago, with no traffic, no weather, and morning-person energy.

My West Loop riders were not airport bound (Yes!)

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My next ping (5:30a.m.) took me to the West Loop where I patiently waited for my rider.  Having noticed that this was not a trip to either O’Hare (ORD) or Midway (MDW), a smile washed across my face.

My riders were not done partying yet

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The riders were presumably boyfriend and girlfriend, were dressed for the clubs and were clearly not done partying yet.  Both were intoxicated, the female rider a bit more intoxicated than her male companion.  They whispered to each other a few times, something about sex was muttered and then a quick discussion about their mutual distaste for the newly opened Concrete Cowboy Bar.

Being extremely familiar with the Chicago foodie culture, dance clubs, and miscellaneous attractions in downtown Chicago, I injected myself into the conversation, and stated, “But it has a Late Hour license, right?”- trying to ferret out at least one positive trait about the new tavern.  While they did agree- they and I knew that there were several other Late Hour licenses (that are better) within walking distance of the Concrete Cowboy Bar.

CROTCH PUNCHING

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I used that Late Hour license bit of interaction to segway into a probing conversation:

Driver: “Where were you guys hanging out tonight?”

Woman: “We didn’t sleep, sex? We didn’t have sex.”

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Man: [inaudible comments]

Woman: “No, we didn’t have sex, we tried to sleep.”

Man: [inaudible comments] “Sex.”

***Woman lifts fist into the air and quickly slams fist into man’s genitalia***

Driver: “That’s true love right there.” [sarcasm intended]

**Woman pauses, lifts fist into air, slams fist into man’s genitalia five (5) consecutive times**

Man: “Do it again, you know I like it. Felt good.”

*Woman, lifts fist into the air, raining down hammer-fist-punches to her boyfriend’s genitalia five (5) more consecutive times*

The woman put everything she had into those crotch punches.  The full force of a 130 pound woman slamming her closed fists into her boyfriend’s junk could have been mood altering for the man, but he was unphased.

Did she miss the target?  I am certain some of the punches were off-target, and had she wiffed on all of those hammer-fists, her boyfriend would have told her as much.

Our friends are in from Los Angeles, let’s party!

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They continued to tell me that they had friends in from Los Angeles and that they were going to continue to party with them.  Without asking about alcohol, I was sure I knew what they implied.

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When we arrived at their Humboldt Park destination, I gave them brief directions to the residential staircase.

Thanks for the best posssible Monday morning ride a rideshare driver could hope for! Maybe next time we can draft more people into a one-sided game of Roshambo.

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.

 

 

 

Rideshare Pilfered $3.88, Then Gave It Back, With A Bonus

After completing 1,000 rides, I’ve noticed only 2-3% of them are permanently memorable, and all the others have an memory expiration date of 1-3 weeks. Below is a memorable ride for 2 different reasons.

Drove to the pickup location: Erie Cafe. Dude opens the door, he bought the ride, and tells me “She’s all your now!” Woman gets in the car, we are going for a quick jaunt to the Gold Coast and then I’ll go hunt for another fare from there.

As an aside, easily 10-20% of my rides are purchased by someone other than the actual rider. Routinely, a male purchases a ride for a female.

Trying to start a conversation with passengers is not always met with enthusiastic open discussion. In this case, I noticed she was fucking annihilated. When she talked she tried to breathe in to prevent the smell of alcohol permeating my vehicle and only spoke a word or two at any time.

She did end up telling me that she was at the Erie Cafe for after work drinks and sucked down too many whisky shots.

Perhaps 2 blocks from her home, she requests that she get out of the vehicle. I did what I could and she successfully got out of my vehicle at the 100-150 block of W Division St.

I threw on my hazards, and got out of the vehicle to check on her. She had vomited all over the front of her black mini-skirt, mostly beer suds and froth, no visible chunks. Thankfully for her, nothing on her cream colored high heels. I asked how I could help, and she wanted napkins. I handed her a half dozen sheets of paper towel from my rideshare bugout bag and she was thankful.

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Not actual rideshare bugout bag

Back in the car, I proceed to give her a pep talk after she wanted to end the ride and walk. I told her “We are in this together, we are a team. We are going to get you home, the doorman is going to get you into your condo, and everything is going to be fine. We only have 2 more blocks to go!”

Minutes later, I unceremoniously saw her to the door, and the doorman handled the rest.

Later I see that the requester was charged $5.00 for the ride of which my take was $3.88…

…Five weeks later my payment statement from the rideshare company lists a debit of $3.88. Curious, I check what I was being docked for, I realized that I remembered this ride, VIVIDLY. The rideshare company had removed the payment from one of my most memorable rides.

I then kicked-off what turned out to be an infuriating 3-hour email battle with rideshare customer service reps. They stated, quite emphatically, that I gave a ride to the wrong passenger, and that the requester did not take the ride. The second part was technically true. Nonetheless, everything on this fare was compliant.  The requester probably just looked at his rideshare statement a month after he got blackout drunk at the Erie Cafe. How would you communicate this situation, your rage, and your sarcasm via email to a customer service representative, who’s primary language is not English?

After several ridiculous replies from customer service representatives, I reached a sympathetic person at the rideshare company that thanked me for my professionalism with the female passenger. She reapportioned me $3.88 for the ride, and re-reviewed the ride, thereby rewarding me with an additional $0.50 for something she didn’t identify.

That ride and that passenger will never be forgotten.

What is $5.00 worth to you?  Please leave a comment below.