On occasion when I am driving, I have had people cancel on me when I am actually on my way to pick them up. For the most part, it has not been too bad. I have either been there waiting for them to come out, in which case I at least got the minimum fare, or the person texted me saying that they were sorry. In the later, I don’t get any money for the time I spent trying to get to them, but hey, at least they apologized.
As a driver, you really don’t want to cancel too many rides because it can affect how you get rides in the future. So, I try to make it a point to accept pretty much any ride when it is requested. Just refer back to Uberring Right Along or How to Succeed in Uber Without Really Trying as proof. Although, I cant say I have never cancelled a ride.
First time I did have to cancel it was pretty much my own fault. Everyone else had been out and I was just at home, trying to get stuff done (really watching football on TV, but don’t tell them) and had no intention of driving. I opened the app, just curious to see how busy it was and if there was any “surge” pricing. I never turned the thing on to accept rides, at least that is what I thought. About 15 mins later, I hear the app go off, pinging me for a ride. Now, at least point, even if I did want to go pick the person up, I couldn’t because I didn’t have a car so I had to cancel.
There was one time when I actually thought of cancelling on purpose. I had just dropped someone off by the The Promenade Shops at Center Valley and before I could even pull away, I got another request. I didn’t recognize the name of the town, so I hit the navigation before I even started off. It tells me that it is going to take me 20 mins to get there and it is heading towards Philly which is NOT on my way home.
I figured, “You know what, screw it, I should just cancel”. Well, before I even started to reach for the app, I get a text message. The person I am supposed to pick up text me asking if I am really coming since the last 3 drivers had cancelled on her. So, off towards Philly I go.
I pick her up and she proceeds to tell me that the first person never even showed up. The second person called her to ask where she wanted to go and when she told him, he cancelled and the 3rd person waited for her to actually get in the car and then told her he couldn’t drive her. Talk about having a bad morning.
As it turns out, this person volunteers to read to children and the elderly at a library near Philly and needed a ride to the train station. Since her last few rides cancelled, she had missed the last train that the station close to her house. That is why she needed a ride to another station that was on the way but much closer to Philly. I was not sure why she doesn’t drive, but she said normally, her mother could give her a ride to the station. This week though , her mother was away, and she didn’t want to cancel on the people at the library so she decided to take an Uber.
We get to the station and I drop her off. She was kind enough to tip me a few dollars, which at first I felt guilty about even taking seeing the trouble she had earlier. After a little of “No, you don’t have to do that” and “No really, please take it,” I end up taking the money. There was a Wawa right across the street from the station and on my way back home, I decide to get something to drink. As I am getting out of the car I get another text from her. She tells, while she was sitting there waiting for her train, she reached in her pocket and found an addl $5 that she had meant to give me on top of what she had already tipped. I was close enough to where I could have gone back to get it seeing I was only across the street, but after what she had been through that day, I just thanked her, said that I appreciated it and but not worry.
Not sure there is really a moral to this story, other than if you are either a rider or a driver and you need to cancel, “Sorry” doesn’t have to be the Uber (hardest) word.
Photography by Suzanne Drake Photography