We (here at Uberkit.net) understand that the everyday experience of an independent Uber partner journeying through the topsy-turvy word of ridesharing is an interesting one (sometimes). We understand that the to and fro travel everyday takes an Uber driver through various places and people – locking them in with another complete stranger (sometimes pleasant, sometimes awkward) for a significant amount of time, in their own small world (their car). This is why we have launched our series tagged: ‘My Life as an Uber Driver’. How does it work? Simple! We find interested drivers with interesting stories and use their tales in crafting something that interests you. We beg you to join us in this adventurous exploration; we pledge not to bore you for even one second, Enjoy!
[Today, we bring you a story crafted from the experiences of Leslie Lowdermilk. A former Uber driver from Austin Texas. She has left the business now to do other things that she considers fun, but she finds it important to tell us how it was and what it felt like while she drove for Uber. Enjoy!]
Here I was in my car, lamenting about the silence that had become the definition of my day. That day had not been the best of days. It was the kind where you sit and hope that the day would just repent and be born again. It isn’t always this way though; the great days came more often. On days like that when I got pissed and felt like it was all a mistake to have taken up the Uber driver’s job, I suppressed the thought by remembering why I joined. I remember how I got so deep in love with the idea of setting my work hours in any way that fits me, making so much money part time, and then my frustrations just flew away. Like I always did, I parked and was waiting to receive a ride request – a real good one. I was staring into the beautiful sky that covered Austin, Texas. Then my phone beeped, there was a ride for me. I was so happy and though it might change the day’s story but alas, it was a very short ride. For a minute I felt like going rogue on them like many riders would do and just decline the ride but my good heart did not let me. I got on the way, picked up this cute couple from downtown Austin and took them back to their hotel. We had a brief conversation.
I ended up dropping the ‘cute couple’ at a very nice hotel. You must already be guessing how I must have grumbled in my heart all through the trip since it was a short ride with a very low fare – probably around $5.50, but I kept my smile and stayed as warm as ever. It was a pleasant ride but really nothing spectacular…or so I thought. The gentleman asked me if I could wait for just a moment – I said sure (believe the word ‘gentleman’ please). The couple spoke for just a moment before the woman walked into the hotel and the gentleman walked off behind the car. When he came back to the car about a minute later, I rolled down the window for him. He leaned in and put his hand out to me. He said, “Next time you want to take the night off, it’s on me.” And then he handed me a $100 tip. I was speechless.
I thought of saying ‘”thank you” but it seemed too small a way to show my appreciation for such a generous deed… and yes, I thought of saying it in UPPERCASE too. With tears in my eyes I looked at him and he got the solemn but strong message. He had no idea how his random act of kindness restored some of my faith in the goodness of humanity that night. Most passengers never tipped and when they did, it was not more than a couple of bucks. But for someone to have tipped $100 seemed too good to be true – I know you wish you had a story like mine. And so my day repented as hoped. My mood soon brightened and I concluded in my heart that Uber wasn’t a bad deal after all, it gave the opportunity to live your environment daily – learning and travelling a route you never knew existed and getting to meet beautiful souls like I just did. The money made me happy, sure. But the heart from which it must have come blessed me more than the money did. It made me remember the very best experience I had when a passenger turned friend. I picked her up from work one evening and drove her back to her hotel. She was in town for business for the week and I told her that if she wanted, I would be her personal Uber driver for the entire week, all she had to do was let me know when I needed to be where to pick her up and when she called for an Uber cab while sitting in my car, I’d be the closest one and would automatically get the ride. She liked the idea and for a week, I took her to and from work. One evening, I even took her shopping at Wal-Mart and she insisted that I leave the meter running. On her final night in Austin, she took me out to dinner.
I’m telling this story now from the future and I wouldn’t tag it a bad experience. Although I had to move on to something else for the sake of more fun, I remember those moments with a smile on my face. As I live the life I’d call perfect, doing the things that make me happy (like traveling to non-touristy places), being at peace with myself (no drama), enjoying the love of friends and family, cuddling with my kitties while reading a good book, my piece of advice to Uber is to raise the rates so that the drivers get paid more. Patrons are willing to pay more. I’ve heard them say so. They CHOOSE to pay more because they don’t WANT a “cabbie” experience.
At this rate, Uber is losing good drivers and getting people who are willing to work for pennies on the dollar, what they are getting is the bottom of the barrel – those people who act just like cabbies. I just heard the other day about a person who took an Uber cab and told me it was the most disgusting car she’d ever ridden in. You get what you pay for. YOU HAVE NO OVERHEAD – and you get what you pay for. Pay your “contractors” a decent wage and you will get people willing to work hard and give good customer service. It’s not rocket science.
And to every driver out there I’d just say keep your head up. I feel this is a trick by Uber to just get more sign-ups to boast about in a few months, I do not think it’s a permanent arrangement. Give the best customer service you can and something more – something the person will remember. If a tourist or visitor; give them a ‘secret treasure’ attraction (I always told people about the Museum of the Weird on 6th St. in Austin. But also respect those who just wanted to have quiet. Be polite, funny and pleasant. Be open and real.”
If ever you face anything that seems too much for you to bear, do what I did when I got laid off from my dream job – keep breathing. That way, better things will come around and more of your dreams will come to pass. I am Leslie, and this is my Uber Story.
The major storyline for this post was provided by: Leslie Lowdermilk (from true life experiences)
LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/leslielowdermilk
Personal Blog: www.leslielowdermilk.com
Business page: www.solcatchers.net.
Compiled and Edited by: Ola John
If you are interested in having your story told, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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