UBER Drivers

UBER Drivers

I have been a faithful Uber customer since Uber was born in Washington, D.C.  While I love driving and enjoy my car, there are times when I’m just in need of some conversation. Uber drivers are the best. They have to deal with a lot of people and they are more than willing to share their stories. And I’m very happy to have topics to write about. So this is the first story of a series.
As I mentioned in my previous blogs, I had just moved to another part of the city. While I am highly adaptable, I’ve always struggled with geographical orientation. The next day after the move, I had an appointment.  I didn’t feel comfortable driving in the new area and my appointment was early in the day. Not the best time for a typical night time writer.
I ordered an Uber. The driver called me to say he had arrived.
Dressed in workout attire, hair pulled back, not really awake and confused by the new environment, I was happy to see the Uber outside my house — especially since there were no other cars around at that time of day.
I immediately jumped into the car, said a polite “Good morning, hope your day is off to a great start” and then kind of fell back to semi-sleep.
The driver is typical…he asks how I am today, tries to make small talk, but I’m mostly out of it.
“I’m sorry, Sir, I hope I put the destination address in, do you have it?” I asked through a mental fog.
“Oh, were you waiting for an Uber driver?”
“Great one,” I responded laughing at his joke.  “Yes, Sir! And I found you.”
“I am not an Uber driver,” he replied,   “I’m a businessman on my way to work.”
Even if I had guzzled 10 cups of coffee and been injected with epinephrine, I would not have awakened with my heart pounding as hard as it did at that moment.
“WHAT? YOU ARE NOT MY UBER?”
Then my phone starts ringing: “Ma’am, are you coming?  I’ve been waiting in front of your house and I don’t see you anywhere.” 
OMG!  It was the Uber I had ordered.
I have been kidnapped.  I’m not a helpless child. I can shoot guns.  I know how to kill a potential attacker.  And while I look frail, you don’t want to have to test me.
“STOP THE CAR.  RIGHT NOW.  I’m calling the police. If you make a move, you’re a dead man.”  I had one hand on my phone and the other one prepared to stab the guy in the neck.
“WHY DID YOU LET ME IN THE CAR, IF YOU ARE NOT AN UBER DRIVER? And worse, why did you drive off,” I said in a loud and confident voice.
“Let me explain myself,” the fake driver tells me.  “Please do not worry. I cannot stop the car here. Look, this is my business card and ID,” and he pulls them out of his pocket.
“I was stopped at the STOP sign when you got into the car.  I’m on my way to work, but I thought you had an emergency and needed to go to the hospital or something. Then I realized you were ok.  But I tell you the truth, you are so pretty, I just wanted to take you wherever you need.  I promise I’m harmless. You were so polite and sweet.”
“What If I was on my way to FRANCE??? Do you work there???”
“Well, I don’t think you’d have called an Uber if that were the case. You must fly across the ocean.”  
At this point, we both start laughing. I have his ID.  I’m ready to call 911 and I have my secret weapon ready if he tries anything stupid.
“Looking at you,” he continued,  “I’m assuming you are going to location X.”
“Yes, I am.”
“Please allow me the opportunity to take you there,” he said.  “I’ll tell you where we are along the way. I just like your pretty face and smile.”
Middle aged woman — mid-life crisis — well, vanity wins.
“How about your work,” I ask.  
“That’s where I work…location X…the address you see on my business card.”
He actually works on the parallel street from my appointment. Unless he has biz cards made to match every single area on East Coast, it seems legit. I sit back but I’m on high alert from the adrenaline rush.
Unbelievable. What are the chances of something like this happening?  I always ask my drivers who they are supposed to pick up, both for safety reasons and I love hearing the different ways they completely mispronounce my name. It helps me with one of my ongoing research projects, which is identifying where a person is from based solely on how they pronounce my Romanian first name.  I also always ask for their name and our destination.
I arrived safely (at no cost) and the businessman asked me to call him every time I needed a driver.  I politely explained that I didn’t think my husband would appreciate that.  (Of course, if he had been 6 feet tall with green eyes, straight dark hair, perfect teeth, supermodel body, and a multi-billion dollar business owner, a Prince of a beautiful country, spoke ten languages, bought me the Hope diamond, flew my parents first class all over the world — then I’d consider letting him drive for “free” my spoiled, fat, old butt.)
I thanked him and left shaking and panting.
While the story is absolutely hilarious and I now think I’m an idiot every time I re-tell it… I’m writing it as a warning to all unsuspecting Uber customers.
I wish you happy Ubering and safe travels,
Love,
Ioana