This is one of my Uber stories about my first night out driving. Such a sweet, innocent guy. We were both Uber virgins that night.
Do I tip?
Next up, two guys at a restaurant-bar in Canton. One in the front seat, one in the back. You smell like french fries, I say before my manners can kick in. They review their meal out loud and conclude, yes, they have had fries.
They’re both white, one in his late 30s, the other in his mid-40s. One is visiting but used to live in the area. We’re heading out of the city to some place I’ve never heard of before, some small, older suburb. Wherever it is, I know it’s closer to my home, and I was already feeling that this would be my last ride for the night.
They’ve had a bit to drink, but they’re pleasant enough. A bit slurred in speech but friendly. The guy in the front tells me the company he works for. I know the brand. It’s a quality brand product in a niche market. I tell him I know this. He is impressed with me and proud with himself.
He asks me a most thought-provoking question: Do I find driving for Uber relaxing? Hmm. Interesting question. Typically, I, don’t care to drive, I tell him. And I certainly haven’t find driving to be relaxing.
But I realize, as I answer his question, that it is actually quite relaxing to drive for Uber. And I realize why. I have no attachment. I do have a responsibility and a desire to get my rider from Point A to Point B as comfortably, quickly and safely as possible, but I have no attachment to their experience beyond the ride.
If they are late to a concert, that’s not my issue. If they are coming from their girlfriend’s house and just had an argument, it’s not my issue. I’m only doing the driving.
Also, much of what I sometimes find stressful about going places—parking, arriving in a timely manner, transitioning my energy from being by myself in the car to being at an event—are not things I have to worry about, at all. I simply drive.
I arrive at their destination. The front-seat guy asks, How does this work? Oh, your friend’s Uber account will handle the transaction and payment, I tell him. Do I tip you? I tell him what my friend whose Ubering experience got me curious about driving says to her passengers: It’s not necessary.
He opens his wallet and we both see the same thing at the same time: he has a $20 and a $100 bill. He grunts, looks at me and says it was really nice riding with me. I fill in the gap of awkwardness and say, But not worth a $20 tip. He laughs, grateful for the understanding, and gives me a hug. They exit my vehicle. I head home.
Key experience: As I close my first night out Ubering, I’m particularly fond of my first and my last trips; and I find Ubering a nice shining star along a path I’m choosing to walk (or drive) now. I can’t wait to get out again!
Photo by Didier Weemaels.