My on again, off again part time career as an Uber driver was more on again this week. I drove a couple of times and my experiences, for the most part, were positive.
You do not have to yell
I only had one bad rider. She was just a rude, terrible person. As soon as we left her house, I attempted to start small talk with her, and she just ignored me. She wasn’t on her phone. She didn’t have a phone. Her son requested the ride on his phone. The first time she spoke was to yell at me that I had missed a turn. I was following the directions provided by the Waze app through Uber. It was directing me to the address her son had entered when he requested the ride. She wanted to go to a hotel here in Hagerstown, but she never bothered to tell me that. The name of the hotel was not entered in the rider app at the time of the request.
When she yelled that I had missed the turn, I thought she meant the street behind the hotel. Again, I didn’t know I was taking her to a hotel. I turned around and pulled down the street behind the hotel. This prompted more yelling. She then and only then told me that she wanted to go to the hotel. After some more maneuvering through the busiest, most congested intersection in Hagerstown, I got her to the hotel. When I pulled up to the main entrance, I apologized for the confusion. Her response? Nothing. She just got out of the car, closed the door, and walked away.
I ended up making $8.50 for the trip. Because of all the turning around I had to do, the trip cost more than it should have. Not because of distance, but because of time. Traffic was bad. School buses were on the roads making the normal flow of traffic through the worst intersection in Hagerstown even more difficult. She could have avoided that if she had only told me (preferably in a non-yelling voice) where we were going.
I am making a list and checking it twice
As bad as the trip was, it did give me an idea. I went to the Uber website and looked at my payment history. It shows all the details of the trip. It shows the address of her house and the address of her destination. I’m going to make a bad rider list and she is going to be my first entry. I’ll enter the info on a spreadsheet and print it out. I’ll keep it in the car for quick reference. When driving for Uber in Hagerstown, you usually have to wait a bit between trips. I’ll make a point to look at my list during that dead time to refresh my memory. If either address appears when receiving a trip request from Uber, I’m not going to accept it. As an independent contractor, I have the right to refuse any trip request from Uber.
Since her destination was a hotel, there’s a chance I may refuse trips in the future from people at this hotel who were not my rude passenger. If that becomes a regular thing, I may reevaluate my plan. I can always accept the trip and then when I arrive at the hotel and discover that it’s her, I can always cancel. The thing is, I’d rather pass on a few trips than pick up a known rude person.
Rude people suck. I don’t want them in my car or my life. You yell at me, you’re going on my list.