Do big events just make people stupid? Between lane closures and pedestrians being oblivious to the world around them, Uptown Charlotte was a goddamn nightmare last night. It was still a pretty successful night though. My first two rides of the night both had minor surges attached. I also now have a personal grudge against the Power 98 radio station because their company vehicle stopped crossways in the middle of what was already a very narrow road for no reason I could see. Shout-out to the guy sitting nearby who pointed me out to the driver that he was blocking me. Immediately after that mess, I delivered a guy from Uptown to Huntersville because he had gone to the wrong hospital. Finally, I legitimately had a ride that was less than a mile in distance take nearly a half hour because the traffic was that bad. Before I conclude, I would like it documented that I had a confirmed repeat rider during my one afternoon trip coming back from work. Until next time, watch out for pinheads.
Soooooo…it’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s not completely my fault though. I didn’t write anything last week because there was literally nothing worth writing about after my Tuesday session and my phone went haywire on Saturday, preventing me from driving. But I’ll try to make it up today and this weekend. Tuesday started off really slow but picked up around rush hour of all times. I took a guy in Cornelius on his day’s errands to the grocery store and post office before returning home. I gave another guy in town on business a tip about the Zagat-rated restaurant in the hotel he was staying at. I was also able to give my duplicate Hatsune Miku backpack clips to a loving home. On Thursday, my first rider talked to me at length about his experiences as a driver and heavily pushed for me to keep a tip jar in my cup holder. Personally, I’m concerned about the presence of it being a little presumptuous and pushy, but I haven’t written off the idea completely just yet. I’m hitting the road again tonight so hopefully I’ll return with tales of glory and intrigue
It’s time for a weekend mega-post. My first rider on Friday was so hyped about using Uber for the first time that he forgot the tickets to the concert I was taking him to. Hopefully, he was able to find an electronic replacement. I had someone leave their car keys in the back seat but luckily was able to get them returned before the night was out. My last trip of the night took me all the way to Cramerton, just east of Gastonia. I truly don’t understand folks who have to travel 15+ miles home and make the call at 3 am. I also feel it’s worth regaling the tale that one of my other passengers heard from a previous driver they had. It seems that while driving a couple in a rocky relationship on the highway, the woman attempted to jump out of the car. The driver managed to grab her leg and the boyfriend pulled her the rest of the way in. Needless to say, the guy pulled over, paramedics were called, etc. The kicker is that a couple days later, the driver gets reprimanded by Uber support for touching a rider. To the driver from that story, wherever you may be, my heart goes out to you, bro.
Because I went so late on Friday, I didn’t go hard on Saturday but it still proved worth my while. My second trip, and only surge, took me to the same country club where they played the Wells Fargo Championship. Now I’ve never been explicitly put down by passengers like these, but I never feel more intensely aware of my social class than when I’m dropping off people at a country club. I also had was probably my favorite group of riders in a while. We all basically spent the whole trip from 51 to Uptown loudly singing late 90s/early 00s songs like a bunch of idiots. It was a blast, regardless. To cap off the night, I had a debacle of mistaken identity. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call the riders Dana and Donna. Dana asked for a pick-up in a very congested strip in the city. I managed to find a spot to stop and wait and called Dana. She didn’t pick up. At all. All four times I called her in as many minutes. Finally I cancel. Almost immediately, Donna calls for a pick-up on the other side of the traffic light I’m stopped at, though I don’t see her. Then I get on a knock on my door and the person answers to Donna when asked. They also already know my name. They get in and I start to drive when the registered rider cancels. Now all becomes clear: this is Dana who has not realized I cancelled. Cutting to the chase, Dana finds another ride and I told Uber not to charge Donna. Check your phones people. No answer means a no-show means cancelled ride.
My mental state is not what I want it to be right now but if there’s one thing I excel at, it’s carrying on regardless. I actually drove last Thursday but there wasn’t anything worth writing about. I had some substantial periods of downtime yesterday but longer trips made up for it. It gave me time to catch up on the latest episodes of my podcast subscriptions anyway. My riders weren’t anything to rave about, but sometimes no news is good news. As far as sights, I saw few posters offering to buy diabetic test strips. I’m trying to change up my route a little bit so hopefully I can get a more consistent stream of riders as well as more interesting stories.
So yesterday was a bit of a gamble since it was my first day since the recent controversy. Personally, I think the CEO is a two-faced shithead, but I’m going to keep this up for as long as it seems financially viable. The afternoon started out pretty strong but it significantly petered out midway through after I stopped for a snack. I did end up having a conversation about politics and the media with a rider who used to work for ABC News so that was a moment of note but beyond that, the most interesting thing I saw was a crossing guard’s sign that lit up. Here’s hoping Uber maintains its presence in Charlotte, if only for my own benefit.