Harry Potter and the Uber Stone

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the 1st Harry Potter book, I am going with the Harry Potter Theme this week.

So I, unlike Harry, was born with no magically powers.   Hagrid did not come to my house on my 11th birthday, and say “you’re an Uber Driver, Kevin”.  So, like every other Muggle when my car gets dirty I need to clean it. I can’t just simply wave my wand and swoosh away all of the dirt from my car.  Nor do we have a house elf that would clean it for me.

I had always thought that I kept my car pretty clean, but when you start driving, you really look at it a lot closer.  I made it a point, before I went out the first time, that I had washed my car and vacuumed the entire thing.  And for the first ride, my car was spotless and I was my usually charming self.  At the end of the ride, I got rated a 5 and I figured this is easy.  Well, that didn’t last long.  For the rest of the night every ride I got rated me a 3 or 4.  I was getting a little self conscience since I was trying to be extra nice to everyone seeing that I was new to all this.  It wasn’t until the next day, when I went to get into my car and happened to look in the back seat and saw an empty soda can.  Apparently the someone from my first ride, had left it back there when they got out of the car.

Another thing I had to worry about was having a new driver in the house.  My daughter, also a Muggle, had gotten her license and started driving my car every so often.  At first, it never really occurred to me that I would need to check the car after she had taken it.  Well, I learned pretty fast that I really need to inspect the car after she was driving too.  For example, there was on Saturday, when I went out driving in the morning.  My daughter had used the car the night before and I didn’t even think about that before I went out.  I woke out, and there was Surge pricing, so I turned the app on.  I got a hit right away without leaving the house.  I quickly grab the keys and headed out.  The first ride I get, the person is very friendly and we are have a nice conversation the whole time.  I drop her off and then head back home since the surge pricing had stopped.  Well when I get home, I check the app to see what I was rated and it turns out she gave me a 1.  WHAT???  I couldn’t believe it.  I go check out the car and it turns out, there was a bunch of garbage on the floor in the back seat.   SMH, well that explains it.

Another time, I pick up this High School kid who just needed a ride to school.  This time I did peek in the backseat real quick and it looked OK.  The kid gets in the car and after a quick hello, his first comment was, “So you have dogs?”.  What, how the hell did he know that.  I let him know that we have 3 and ask if he was allergic thinking maybe his sinuses started bothering him.  Nope, no such luck.  Seems, the night  before, someone had decided to take the dogs in the car to pick up a friend and there was fur all over the back seat.

So, until I get the letter from the wizard owl with my letter to Hogwarts, it looks like I need to continue to inspect my car before every ride.  You never know when a poltergeist, like Jeeves might leave some garbage or dog hair in your car.

Congrats to Harry Potter and the Uber Stone on 20 years.

Photography by Suzanne Drake Photography

5 Card Uber

Let me introduce you to a new game I came up with the other weekend.  Not really sure what to call it yet but for now, let’s just call it 5 Card Uber since I cant think of anything better and Crazy Ubers might scare some people off.

It was 2 Sundays ago and most of the family had gotten up earlier than normal.  Reason for the early wake-up call was that 3 of us (me, my wife and my youngest daughter) were working for a Run Lehigh Valley 5K race at Dorney Park.  We all had to get up between 5 and 6 am to make sure we were there on time.   We were done with the race around 10-10:30 am and headed home.  My oldest daughter had to work from 12 to 4 pm so while we waited for her to get done, we all just tried to get stuff done around the house.  I had just gotten done cutting the lawn and went out to run an errand and knew no one was going to want to cook dinner.  That is when the light bulb went off.

I had gotten the idea from a saying I first heard from my father-in-law when we were out fishing one time.   He said, we whatever we catch is what we are going to eat for dinner.  If we don’t catch anything, then we don’t eat.  Hey, maybe this will work for Uberring.  It was around 1:30 pm and I decided to give myself 2 hrs to see how much I can make and use that for dinner.  Depending on how much I made, we would either go out to eat, order something in, or if things didn’t go too well,  we would just have have to settle for White Castle or some other cheap fast food place.  So, I get in the car and let the game begin.

It started off quickly.  I had my first ride within the first few minutes, picking someone up near the local high school in Bethlehem (Liberty) and taking them into Allentown.  15 minutes later, I had my first $8 and enough for at least a burger each and fries at the White Castle, although we probably have to share the fries.  I head back to Bethlehem and as soon as I pull into town, I get another ride.  It’s a husband and wife who are heading to the Sands Casino.  We get to talking and I ask the if there were going to gamble or see a show.   Ironically, they tell me, they are going for the Annual Food and Wine Festival.  Was half tempted to ask them to sneak some food out for me, just in case this “game” doesn’t go well.  Since it was a pretty short ride it was only about a $4 fare, but at least now  – Everyone can get their own order of fries.

At this point it is close to 2:30 pm, 1 hour left.  Instead of just driving around looking for a ride, I decide to just park, catch up on emails and Facebook and wait to see if I can get a few more rides before the “buzzer” sounds and the game is over.  I didn’t realize it, but before I know it, 30 mins have past.  Oh Crap.  I decide maybe just sitting there is not going to work out.  I put the car in drive and hope to god that there is someone in need of a ride.

About 10 mins pass and I am getting a little nervous because I REALLY don’t want White Castle.  No offense, to the Castle, but at this age, not sure my stomach can handle it.  A little more time goes by and my hope is dwindling, but low and behold, I get a ping.  My spirits start to pick up, although I try not to get too excited since it could just be another $4 ride.  I start off to pick them up and before I got there I got a call from them.  I am thinking, “Please don’t cancel, Please don’t cancel”.

Turns out they just wanted to stop and get something to eat on the way – WHEW!.  I pick them up but at this point they changed their mind and just want to get back to their car.  They had been at a wedding in Sellersville (about 20-30 min ride) and were just staying in Bethlehem.  I drop them off and eagerly await to see how much the fare was.  As I pull away, the fare shows up and its $21 – WOO-HOO.  No White Castle tonight. Now, it was not enough to go out to eat, but definitely enough to order Chinese.  IMG_6200

Now, I mentioned that I had decided to play this game while I was out running an errand, I failed to mention that I had not told anyone else in the family what I was doing. It is for this reason, that I am extremely grateful to that last ride.  If I had gone home with only $10-$12 for dinner, I don’t think it would have gone over too well.  So, if you ever decide to play 5 Card Uber, make sure you warn you family ahead of time. Oh and maybe bring some Pepto just in case you find yourself with only enough for the Castle.

Photography by Suzanne Drake Photography

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Uber

I had brought this up before in Uberity where when I started, I always thought the people I picked up would be someone who needed a ride because they knew they were going to be drinking and didn’t want to drive.  Or the people that needed a ride home, because they drank too much. Or even the 3rd type, people needing a ride back to their car because they were too drunk to drive the night before.  And there have been times where I did get these types of rides.

Like on St. Patrick’s day, when I picked up these 2 guys that had just been bar hopping in Bethlehem and needed a ride to their next stop.  Or the guy in Allentown, who had to leave the bar because it was closing.  He lived close, but it was raining and didn’t want to walk home.  Problem was, he didn’t know it was raining when they were kicking him out. He had ordered a drink and had planned on walking home with it.  Well since it was pouring out, he figured he would call for an Uber.  I pick the guy up and he wants to get in the car with his drink.  At this point, I am still pretty much a rookie driver and was not sure what to do.  Do I let him get in and drive with an open “container” in the car, or make him finish it or pour it out before he gets in.

Well, at the risk of admitting that I was unlawful by letting him get in the car or the risk of seeming like a prude by making him pour it out I will refrain from answering. Let’s just say, we reach a compromise and the gentlemen got home safely and was nice enough to give me 5 stars.  He even give me a little tip.  I miss that guy 🙂

Over the last few weeks now, I have come across a few different reasons why people request an Uber.  Like last week when I was in NJ on my way home from work.  I turn the app on and get a ride pretty quick.  I reach the pickup location (a gas station) and it is a man and a women – either husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend – or just EXTREMELY comfortable with each other since she had her head in his lap for most of the ride.  As I get ready to pull away, I see that they are headed to Allentown, which is only a few minutes past my house in PA and about a 40 mile trip.  I say “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what brought you out to NJ that you needed and Uber to get home”.  Well the man tells me that their car was impounded and the needed a ride.  Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have asked.

At this point though, I am really curious as to what happened, but was afraid to ask any more questions.  We get to Allentown and I drop them off, at which point I wish them luck with their car.  The man tells me, “Oh don’t worry, we ARE getting the car back tonight” and gets out of the car.  Now this made me even more curious as to what happened, but I guess we/I will never know.

Really is no moral to this whole story just found it interesting, but maybe consider it more like a PSA. As a wise man once said, “Don’t drink and drive, don’t even putt”. And just make sure if you do have your One Bourbon and One Scotch, get your One Uber to make sure you get home safe.

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day

Cheers!.

Photography by Suzanne Drake Photography

 PS – No dogs where harmed in this photo, nor did they actually drink any Vodka