Sometimes I wish that Uber told you a little bit more information about your driver before you buckled up. The app tells you the drivers name, what kind of car they drive and how many rides they’ve completed, but it forgets to tell you all the important things. What kind of music will the driver play? How often will they get lost before finding the train station? How many of their kids will be joining you in the backseat? You never quite know where your ride will take you.
Riding in an Uber is a strange experience that most millennials can bond over. Some rides are more strange than others though, and a select few even provide laughs and conversations.
Here’s a list of some of URI’s most notable rides!
He’s Just Not That Into You
Victoria Hamilton was raised believing politeness is key. In most situations, this courtesy is well received, but when she sat in the passenger side of a Honda Civic in July, her demeanor couldn’t have been seen as more annoying. When she hopped in the car, her driver gave her a curt nod which she took as a sign to share a little small talk. “How’s your day going,” she asked. In response he huffed and turned the music dial up a notch. “I feel that, today is not my day,” she continued, watching him spike the volume more as she did. The sound of her rejection was not a peaceful one either, she said the car doors were vibrating with the club rhythms he was playing. “Have you been an Uber driver for a long time?” She tried once more, her ears hurting very much at this point. Luckily though, she arrived at her stop at this point and was saved from the embarrassment of his non-reply.
Tai Chi Charlie
Recently, I rode home from the mechanic with a man named Tai Chi Charlie. Charlie was a character. We were only together for ten minutes but I saw him experience every human emotion possible. He spoke jokingly with his wife on the phone but then hung up with a huff. He turned to me and lamented that his wife has something wrong with her teeth and can only eat soft foods. “All I want in life is a Philly Cheesesteak though, and she can’t handle that!” Charlie and I later waited together for a funeral procession to pass ahead of us. He pointed to the hearse and told me that he can’t wait for his chance to ride in the back. “Everyone should try it once,” he laughed. This man was a wild card.
Fun For the Whole Family
When sophomore film major Grace Desanti requested a ride from campus to the train station she didn’t expect to join a family of three. When her driver was a few minutes away she received a call from him letting her know that he couldn’t get a babysitter for the night so his kids are helping him out. She opened the door and was stunned by the sound of Camila Cabello’s Havana being sung by the Kidz Bop crew. They chatted pleasantly about his career in the air force and their shared passion for skydiving, but all she could focus on was the three-year-old in the Paw Patrol pajamas that was snoring in the back. Desanti said she had three bags with her and stacked them all on her lap, covering her face, because she didn’t want to risk waking the kid by putting them in the back.
Good, Clean Fun
In high school, Morgan McCarthy received high praise from her Spanish teacher for always using correct grammar in her papers. Given this acclaimed past, when her Uber driver, who spoke little English, wanted to test how good her Spanish was she accepted the challenge. She says they giggled together as each forgot certain words during the conversation and when lightning struck the road near them towards the end of the ride, her driver asked what the English word for that was. When she requested an Uber late in the evening, McCarthy said this innocent smiley interaction was not what she was expecting.
Please Drive Safely
When it comes to using Uber, safety and cleanliness are not guaranteed. One URI student recalled a time when her driver handed her a rolled-up newspaper to fight off any flies that came her way. She was horrified by the bug problem yet thankful for the literary weapon. Another student said her driver once laughed and told her that he can never really see where he is going and just wings it and hopes for the best. Needless to say, she didn’t feel very safe in that car.