If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a rideshare driver these two past years it’s this: never take advice from a YouTuber. Specifically, advice on driving for Uber or Lyft.
These rideshare videos can still be a learning tool. Just do the complete opposite of what these rideshare YouTubers say and you’ll be right more than you’re wrong. Case in point, Dustin Nicol from Dustin is Driving.
Rideshare diving is a customer service gig
If Mr. Nicol’s videos are to be believed, he has some of the worst customer service skill of anyone I’ve ever seen. He tells stories that involve him being rude to passengers. He says things like “smack a bitch” about passengers, often while he is holding a prop fly swatter.
Rideshare driving is above all else, a customer service gig. If you cannot give good customer service to someone needing a ride somewhere, you should not be a rideshare driver.
This morning while watching/listening to YouTube while I was doing other things, I learned Lyft permanently deactivated Dustin Nicol because of a passenger complaint.
Lyft deactivated Mr. Nicol on or around December 6, 2018. He says it was because a passenger “falsely” reported him to Lyft for being intoxicated. He had dashcam video of the trip, but he recorded over it. Something like that.
He made two videos about the deactivation. The first one is less than four minutes long:
The second video is over an hour long:
According to the videos, Lyft refused to allow Dustin Nicol to respond to the allegation. The passenger reported him and that was that. That’s what he says.
I was once deactivated by Uber
I’m not sure I buy that. Lyft has never deactivated me, but Uber did. A passenger reported to Uber that I canceled a ride request because they were black. I canceled because they did not come to my vehicle within five minutes.
I was illegally parked at a truck stop where they requested me to wait for them. After five minutes and having nobody show up to my car, I canceled the ride. As I was driving off, a man I assume was the passenger, tried to stop me from leaving. He was black. Since I already canceled the ride, I left and got back on the road. I then got another ride request from the same passenger, which I declined.
That night, I got a phone call from Uber telling me that my account was deactivated and they explained the reason. I told the person exactly why I canceled and that it had nothing to do with their race. While speaking to him, I pointed out I didn’t even know the skin color of the passenger until after I canceled and they showed up and tried to stop me from leaving.
Unfortunately I kind of look like a Trump supporter
In a way, I don’t even fault the passenger. Unfortunately, I look like a typical racist Trump supporter. I’m white and in my early 50s. I shave my head and I wear a silly looking goatee.
What’s worse is I like red baseball hats. I feel like I cannot wear them because I don’t want anyone to think I’m wearing a MAGA hat. To many people, I’m sure I look like I should be wearing a MAGA hat.
In reality, I voted for Hillary Clinton twice. Once in the Maryland primary and then again in the general election.
Anyway, after I explained everything to the person from Uber, my account was reactivated. It’s because of this experience with Uber, I have a hard time believing Lyft would do things differently. Lyft usually copies a lot of what Uber does.
If I was accused of being intoxicated, I would immediately go and get a CDT blood test. I know where these tests are conducted because I pick up a lot of truck drivers who have to get this test. You should not mess around with something like that. I drink very moderately. The last time I drank was at the end of December. It wasn’t even New Years Eve. I had one beer. I had a Heineken and it was delicious. If you drive a vehicle for a living, even if it’s a side gig, maybe you should only drink very moderately.
I’m not sure I believe everything Dustin Nicol said about Lyft deactivating his account. If he is as rude to passengers as he is on his videos, perhaps the passenger truly believed he had been drinking.
Rideshare driving is a privilege, not a right. It’s also about providing excellent customer service to your passengers. Provide a safe, clean, and comfortable ride to their destination. Remain courteous and professional to your passengers.
It would behoove drivers if they kept these facts in mind.