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


Uber Side Story – Part II, Maria’s tale

This story, is a continuation of my last post – Uber Side Story, where I picked up “Tony” who unexpectedly shares a ride with “Maria”.  When we last left these 2 crazy kids, we got to hear Tony’s side and how we just dropped him so that he could buy the bong he always wanted for his birthday, which I am sure he has gotten plenty of use out of since. We now pick up with Maria’s story, that, while it might not be as colorful as Tony’s, I feel that it no less interesting.

For those who did not read part one of Uber Side Story, let me give a brief recap of how we got here.  Basically, Tony had requested an Uber and was walking out of work at the same time that Maria was leaving.  These 2 had never talked to each other before, but to help Maria out so she would not have to wait for a bus, Tony offers to share the Uber.  What a nice guy.  The conversation mostly revolves around Tony while he is in the car.  Although, we do find out that Maria, like Tony, had recently moved to the area, but that was about it – Oh and that she does not know of any good gay bars in the area nor smokes pot.

After we drop Tony off, we talk a little about pot smoking and about not having much of a social life now that we have kids.  Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, Maria is a single mother of 3 – ages ranging from 8 – 15.  She says, that she moved here to get away from her ex and live with her mother.  She proceeds to tell me about her 3 kids.  The youngest, a girl, has been pretty easy so far.  She stays out of trouble and does pretty good in school.

The middle child, is a boy.  He too stays out of trouble, but not so great at school.  Apparently the kid is really into sports.  Loves basketball and baseball and is pretty good at them, just doesn’t spend the time on school work.  I let her know that I was pretty much the same way when I was a kid and I did what I needed to to get by.  It wasn’t until I got to High School, where I started hanging out with a bunch of guys that not only had the same passion for sports,  but were also pretty good in school that things started to change.  Hanging out with them made me realize that I could still enjoy sports, but also do well in school.

Then we come to her oldest, who had been doing good in school, until they moved.  She said that at first she was happy because her oldest was able to make friends early on. Problem was, these were not the greatest kids.  Her daughter had been cutting school and even got caught drinking a few times.  Maria is now focused on trying to save up some money so that she can move to Georgia.   I asked if she had family or friends down there and she said no, but that she had visited there a few times and really liked it. She thought it would be a good place to start over again and that she needs to do this to make things better for her kids.

I drop her off and she says it was nice to be able to talk to someone and thanks me for the conversation.  I thank her and wish her the best of luck.  At this point, it was getting late in the night and I just turn the app off and head home.

On the way home, I start thinking about my daughters and even how it was when I was growing up.  While family has a big influence on how we turn out, our friends also have an impact on us.  It really made me appreciate not only the friends that my daughters have made but also the ones that I made while I was growing up. To all my friends and family – I thank you.

As for Tony and Maria, I wish her the best with her and her children and that they can find what they are looking for in Georgia.  As for Tony, I hope that he continues to be the nice guy that shares an Uber for those in need and wish him a life time of “highs” with his new bong.

And with that, I will end this Uber Side Story.

Photos by Suzanne Drake Photography



I have always been a fairly social person and enjoy meeting new and interesting people.  I love volunteering for the local festivals in the area, Celtic Classic, Musikfest, & Oktoberfest to name a few, because it is fun and just another way to meet more people.   Then, when I started to get the idea to Uber, I thought, now here is a chance to meet some more interesting people AND get paid.  Count me In.

For the most part, when I started it was pretty much what I expected.  Driving people to the airport, driving drunks home after a night of partying, driving hung over partiers back to their car the next morning, or even just driving people to work.  One thing I didn’t expect was giving kids a ride to school in the morning.

One of the first times this happened, I had just got done dropping my kids off at school and figured, what the hell, let me turn the Uber app on and see if I can get any rides.  Sure enough, within about 2 mins of turning the app on, I get a ping to pick someone up.  Now, we live right across the river from Lehigh University, and the person I was picking up was right by the campus, so I just thought it was a college kid.  WRONG.

Turns out it was a high school kid who missed his bus and needed a ride to school. I really wanted to ask him, “Is this normal?  Do you take Ubers often to get to school? But like most kids just out of “Uberity” he got in the car and just put his headphones on, played on his phone and didn’t say a word until I dropped him off. Although, in his defense, he was very polite when he got out of the car, thanking me and wishing me a nice day.  Such a nice young man.

Another time, there was a high school girl who was in my youngest daughters grade.  Again, I had just dropped off my daughters and decided to turn the app on.  I pull up to the address thinking it is just going to be someone going to work.  Again, WRONG.  Turns out this girl does not live that far from the school and could probably walk. Since she didnt put the headphones on as soon as she got in the car, I figured I would ask – “Do you normally take an Uber to school?”  She tells me, no, it is just that she was running late, missed the bus and if she was late one more time she would get Saturday school.

Then there was the kid who I picked up a 7am and was also just going to their High School.  When I picked them up, I looked at the destination real quick and recognized the school name but still hit the navigation link just so I could take the quickest route.  After about a min or so into the ride I hear the GPS say, you will arrive at 10:30am.  At this point, I am thinking, “3.5 hrs for a 3 mile ride – the clock on my GPS must be off.  I drive a little farther and look at the GPS again and see that is says the ride will take 3.5hrs.  WHAT??!!!

I pull over, and confirm where they wanted to go.  They say, Easton High School, in eastern PA. Well, that was not the address they keyed in.  They did keyed in the address for an Easton High School, but it was in Maryland.  Luckily, we had not gotten that far and I was still able to get them to school on time.

The whole thing just kind of feels weird driving these kids around.  I mean my oldest daughter just started to drive so now we don’t have to drive her around that much anymore.  But now thanks to Uber, I get to drive her classmates around. On the upside, I never got paid to drive my daughters around.

Photography by Suzanne Drake Photography