Customer Care. Ensuring the Health, Safety and Happiness of your Customer. All excellent attributes to have if you are a politician. All excellent attributes if you are an Uber Driver. Maybe every politician should drive for Uber before they take the helm of government?
I started Uber-ing on a part time basis in the Greater Washington DC area last February. I really enjoy it. I like most of the passenger who get in and out of my car. I never once have thought about shooting or stabbing anyone. Ejecting them, maybe! Like the guy who told me I needed to treat him with greater respect because he was a very important person.
By greater respect, he meant that I needed to pick up a friend of his along the way. Along the way for him mind you. Two miles out of the way for me. I told him no. This didn’t sit well with him.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked. “I’m a very important person in this city!” he bellowed. “Mister, if you have to tell me you are a VIP, you probably aren’t,” I quipped. “And this is Washington DC. Everybody in this town thinks they are important! Now if you would like to get out of my car and get another Uber driver, I can’t make you stay in mine. Kidnapping is a federal offense.” He stayed and shut up. But that is the closest I have come to wanting to hurt somebody. However, violence does happen between passengers in Ubers.
“A husband just shot his wife in an Uber!” Melody exclaims. “It happened in Seattle.” Yes, this somehow doesn’t surprise me. Just last week, I read that two carpoolers who had never met before climbing into an Uber in Chicago’s North End, got into a fight about who should ride in the back seat and one of them pulled out a knife and stabbed the other one several times before opening the door and running away.
According to current data, there is no occupation more dangerous in America than being a driver for Uber, Lyft or the like. Police Officers are victims of homicides at a ratio of 7:100,000. For Convenience Store Clerks, the ratio is 15:100,000. For Taxi Drivers, the ratio is 20:100,000 and they have traditionally been recognized as one of the most dangerous and most at risk of dying on the job. The difference between the Taxi Driver and The Uber Driver is that the Taxi Driver has a dispatcher to communicate with whereas an Uber Driver has no way to communicate with anyone in a quick and painless way. I’m certain Uber’s app will soon have a way to contact 911. It will be coming soon now that people are being shot and stabbed in “Ubers.”
Despite the risks, more and more people will use Uber. For example, the DC area is a very transient place with people coming on and off the Metro, from Union Station and in and out of the 3 major airports. There must be a thousand hotels in a 20 square mile area. And of course, a trillion hotel and restaurant employees who Uber every day because they cannot afford the $14 an hour parking lot fee or the $4.60 an hour fee to park on the street. Even Metro has cut back the hours and the frequency of the rides while jacking up the price of traveling to and from home. Not to mention the sweltering heat and high humidity during the summer. Mix the heat with the clash of cultures and the stress with a dash of politics and shake or stir the car and you get trouble.
Did I say politics? People in DC, whether they live here or they are visiting love to talk politics. People using my Uber sure do! I like it. It allows me to conduct informal focus group discussions about current events. Even though the surrounding area of local residents is a majority blue, meaning Northern Virginia is about 70 percent Democrat and DC appears to be about 94% Democrat, the transient population appears to be more like 30-30-40. Thirty percent are Republicans, Thirty percent are Democrats and Forty percent don’t trust either party to get something done. However, nearly all of them like the way I drive.
I’ve gotten compliments like “Best Uber driver ever!!” “Very personable” Excellent driver, nice conversation 3 thumbs up. thanx for the ride.” “Thank you for letting me talk to my family on the phone while you drove me!!” “After missing us on my part, he came back around and picked us up. Great guy and very, very, very nice.” “James was the best.” “He was lovely.” “Awesome service.” “Thanks for the tolerance.” “Great ride!!” and “Even tho the guest was difficult, he provided amazing service! Thank you!” My current rating is 4.88 out of 5 stars and my acceptance rate is at 97%.
I’m not sure any member of Congress and certainly not in the Oval Office enjoys near the five star rating I have. But then, it’s not about me.