A Look Back at the Year of My Uber Life

With the arrival of Musikfest (10 day music festival here in Bethlehem PA), it marks my 1 year anniversary driving for Uber.  I have not been driving as much lately because of my schedule and it got me thinking.  Do I really want to keep driving for Uber?  And to be honest, I am not really sure.  I mean I have definitely have some interesting experiences, like driving Stoner Gamer Dude and the time I drive the offensive coordinator for Lehigh football but has it really been worth it?

To start, since I began last August, there are a lot more drivers in the area and it is harder to get rides, at least harder to get as many rides as I used to.  Plus, I have had a few unexpected rides where I had to drive into NYC or just even from Bethlehem PA to Somerset County NJ, which was about an hour ride.  On top of that, there are all these changes/issues that Uber is having.

Not sure you have heard, but the company seems to be kind of a mess.  First there was the sexual harassment scandal where a woman accused a manager of harassment but it was dismissed because the manager was a high performer.  REALLY?!?!?  So if the manager was a crappy worker, they would have investigated?  Eventually, Uber did start an internal investigation, only to find out a few days later that this might not an isolated incident.  A week or so after that we find out that one of their Senior VP’s steps down after allegations of sexual harassment at his former company.  Stay Classy Uber.

Then Google sues Uber, accusing them of stealing their “self-driving” technology.  Which Uber denies and plans to go to court.  Then, using this alleged stolen self driving technology, one of their cars runs a red light, almost hitting a person who was in the cross walk.  They decide to blame this on human error since there was someone in the car who could have stop this.  Now granted the person assigned to make sure this worked screwed up, but really wasn’t it the car’s error first and the person just failed to react in time?

After that, a video surfaces of the CEO berating a driver.  Now, I give the CEO some credit, he does come out and offer public apology and says that we will get “leadership” help.  Not sure that will help, but it is a start.  The list goes on.  More lawsuits, more executives resign, another self driving car crash, etc…  Like I said – total mess.  And, not that it affects me, but since I started, they have added about $0.70 additional rider fees, so while it is costing the passengers more money to ride, the driver does not see any of it.  Probably because they need the money to pay for the lawyers and increase insurance fees.

Now, you might ask, why did I keep doing it as long as I have?  Well, they are looking into getting flying cars as early as 2020.  How cool is that.  Really, I am not kidding, they are looking to demonstrate these electric plans that would take passengers at 150mph through the sky.  Although with their history with the self driving cars, this would make me a little nervous.  But to be honest, this was not the real reason I haven’t quit.

Since I hadn’t been driving a much, I really have not paid that much attention to all of this until recently.  I think I am going to see how things go this week and half with Musikfest in town and decide after that.  Although at this point I am leaning towards calling it quits.  WHAT!?!?! you say.  Calm down. I do still like writing, so while it might be the end of “My Uber Life”, I might just need to start thinking of other things to write about.

Any suggestions???


Uber Mario and the 6 Foot Bear

So, as promised, this is the story of the Stoner Gamer Dude and the Man in the Bear Suit.  Since, both of these stories deal the conversations I had with these individuals, I am going to write it as dialogue in a play.  Stoner Gamer Dude will play the part of Uber Mario, Man in Bear suit will play the part of 6 Foot Bear and I will play the part of Super Awesome Driver (hey, its my play and I will name my characters however I see fit – don’t judge).

Scene 1:

Super Awesome Driver (S.A.D) is riding along looking for his next ride, when all of a sudden – “Ping, Ping, Ping”, a rider has requested a pick-up.

S.A.D arrives at pick-up

S.A.D:  Hey, whose it going?

Uber Mario:  Hey, what’s up man?

S.A.D: Not Mu……. (S.A.D gets cut off in mid sentence)

Uber Mario:  My best friend just tried to kick my ass.

S.A.D: Really what hap……. (cut off again)

Uber Mario:  Well, you know how it goes (S.A.D shows confused look, as if “No I Dont”).  Hey, take a guess at what I do for a living.

S.A.D: (Again with confused look), No, idea, what do you …… (yes you guessed it, cut off again)

Without going into the rest of the back an forth, basically it comes out that the guy is a 20 something professional gamer. He was even sponsored by a major soft drink company.  He goes on to say that he lives at home with his mom (yes, really), his dad is not around.  S.A.D tries to ask what happened since it seemed like this guy wanted to talk, but then the subject changes back to gaming.  He tells S.A.D that he enters tournaments where the top prize is $300K.  He enters with 4 other players and the split the pot. Funny thing though, he never says if he ever won, just what the potential prize money is.

We arrive at Uber Mario destination, which took all of about 5 mins.  Uber Mario had a lot to say in a very short period of time.

Uber Mario:  Thanks for the ride

S.A.D:  You’re Wel…..(door slams)

Scene 2:

S.A.D once again riding along, when “Ping, ping, ping”; next ride.  S.A.D proceeds to pick-up location and sees a furry 6 foot figure with a hood that has a top hat attached to it talking with a women.  He stops and said furry creature, gets into the car.

S.A.D:  (thinks to himself, this could be interesting) Hey, how’s it going?

6 Foot Bear: Grrrr (not really but he grumbled something that S.A.D couldn’t make out – it could have been a Grrrr or Growl, who knows.)

That was pretty much the extent of the conversation. They rode in silence until they reach 6 Foot Bear’s destination – one of the local bars.  6 Foot Bear gets out of the car, says Thank You (that was clearly audible) and tips S.A.D.

S.A.D:  (thinks to himself) What a nice Bear.


Annnnnd Scene.

So there you have it.  I really think this should be a new reality show – Uber Mario and the 6 Foot Bear.  Just think of the stimulating conversations they could have. Cant be any worse than some of the other shows on TV right now.

Photography by Suzanne Drake Photography