The Best and Worst Uber Experiences According to Eastside
February 25, 2020
Jiseon Lee (’20) – Eastside Photo Editor
My friends and I took a day trip to New York City during spring break of 2019. After shopping and exploring Times Square, we decided it would be a fun idea to try out new restaurants located outside of the city. However, the only way to get to these new restaurants was through Uber since the taxis were constantly busy. We also thought Uber would be easier to take since we are so used to using Uber back at home. So the four of us split the Uber rides. When we ordered our Uber, a young man arrived at our location. As soon as we got into the car, my friend Jay, who produces music, asked the Uber driver if he could connect his phone to the car through the aux cord. The Uber driver was so chill he that he said “of course, hook it up”. When Jay connected his phone and turned on his music, the Uber driver started bumping to it. During the seven-minute drive to our destination, the Uber driver and the four of us jammed out to Jay’s music and enjoyed our ride. Towards the end of our jam session, the Uber driver said, “Yo, this music is lit.” Then we all began to laugh and continued to enjoy the song. When we arrived at our destination, we were all kind of upset that the ride had come to an end. Even though we arrived at the restaurant, we wanted to continue the fun jam session we began in the car. After getting out of the car, my friends and I realized that Ubers can actually be really fun and that small, but memorable moments can be made in it.
My church member and her husband were moving into a new house and needed some of the youth group members to help them carry their stuff into their new home. So the whole day we were driving back and forth from the real estate office, to the old house, then to the new house. When we were at the office, we had issues with rides and had to figure out a way to get from the office to the new home. My church member decided that the best option for us was an Uber. When our Uber driver arrived, we noticed that the car was kind of small, but we proceeded to go in. As soon as I got into the car, a horrible smell filled my nose. I have a sensitive nose, so it was extremely hard to bare that smell. I did not want to be rude by pinching my nose so I tried my best not to breathe or inhale. Let me tell you, it was NOT easy. The five-minute car ride felt like hours. It was like torture. I have never smelled that kind of smell before and it was so unpleasant that it was traumatizing. When we arrived at our destination, I have never been so relieved to get out. I thought to myself, “wow, this was absolutely the worst Uber experience ever.”
Defne Alpdogan (’20) – Eastside Features Editor
Before I got my license, Uber was my best friend. I do still use Uber; however, it has become harder to use Uber when I can ask one of my friends to drive me places, but anyway. I would say I am a well-versed Uber rider. With a couple of experiences in my belt, the best experience I have had would have had to be one that only lasted around seven minutes (I am accounting traffic from school to my house). I had stayed after and needed a ride back to my house where upon my order of an Uber had met a wonderful man. I am a proud Turk and upon hearing his name knew that he also had to be from the same ancestry. The second I stepped into the car, he had pronounced my name correctly (in Turkish) and I knew from that moment, that it was going to be one of the best trips. Being an extremely talkative person, this man accompanied my discussion of my Turkish name and my ancestry. Being a middle school teacher himself, he had wholeheartedly talked to me about his own experiences in coming to the United States and his own struggles in the country. It was an interesting discussion as I was able to connect with someone who I had never met before about similar experiences and thoughts.
Oh, boy. If I could describe the experience as a trainwreck, it would not even dent how bad of trip I had. It started off with me wanting to go to my therapist’s office for a visit. That is all I wanted: a calm trip with no problems. Upon request, this man called me stating that he needed a glass of water, so I decided to bring him a glass of water. Upon arrival, I realized that I was in deep trouble. His car had two dents: one in the front and one in the back. The car reeked of marijuana and cigarettes and there was absolutely no A/C. However, I thought that the trip might not be as terrible as the car looked. I was wrong. He used the water to put out the cigarettes he had in his hand and then proceeded to pull out a vape pen and start blowing smoke into the car. I was not sure what to do at this moment so I just stayed quiet. All I wanted was to get to my destination and immediately exit the vehicle. In the middle of the trip, this man’s daughter called. He proceeded to tell his daughter that he was smoking in his car and then stating that he did not care “if he received a bad rating because he had so many good ones.” Not only was I baffled, I was stone cold in my seat. By the end of the ten-minute trip, I was so happy to be leaving that car. I sometimes think about how terrible that trip was and thank god I have never been through that ever again.
Remy Abrams (’21) – Eastside Culture Editor
As I opened the car door to the freshly smelling Uber, I sat in the back with a couple of my friends. The Uber driver greeted us with a smile and offered us water and mints. Though we did not accept this offer, his smile remained and we began the ride. The drive began as a normal car ride, nothing special, until he offered up the AUX cord. Due to the fact that I have the best taste in music — it’s true, ask anyone — I connected my phone and ultimately began the party. The four of us, including the driver, jammed out to the best music ranging from hype songs like “Burn” by Big Sean and Meek Mill to throwbacks like “Hot in Herre” by Nelly. The drive was about 15 minutes, so the four of us partied for literally every single second. The driver was very nice and fun and did not judge my friends and I for partying, and he even joined in, unlike other drivers in the past. Personally, I would have rather stayed in the Uber than go to the destination that I initially intended to go to.
When I saw the van drive up to my location, my friends and I looked at each other, all with the whole “white van stranger danger” scenario racing in our brain. When we initially intended to look into the window, we were unsuccessful because the windows were darkly tinted. After it was apparent that we could not see inside, the driver rolled down the window. However, we were hesitant to enter, not sure if it was an Uber because another person was in the passenger seat. After checking the license plate and asking their name, we confirmed it was truly our driver. We entered the car and the nervous feeling that accompanied the “white van stranger danger” situation disappeared. However, as the ride began, I found myself physically moving up and down due to the jerky driving. At one point I was even looking for a plastic bag in case I had to throw up. Ultimately, the ride became smoother, but that was not the end of the experience. The driver and the man in the front seat began talking to each other in a language that was definitely not English. This usually does not faze me; however, my friend who was sitting next to me was extremely nervous because she recognized one of the words spoken and did not seem to like it. She had texted me to look in the lap of the man in the front seat. After peaking over, I noticed that the man in the passenger seat was holding onto something black in his lap, though it was never clear what it actually was. Although this experience was one that I would not wish to experience again, the driver dropped us off at our destination and it ultimately turned out to be a seemingly safe ride.
Jacy Dickstein (’22) – Eastside Features Editor
As many common Uber users experience a wide range of different drivers, I haven’t met anyone in particular that was too unusual. However, one time, I would categorize the ride as downright strange. As I ordered my first Uber ride, I checked out his profile as my mom repeatedly reminded me to do so. Listed under “description,” the number one comment was, “great talker.” Oh boy, I said to myself. This is gonna be a series of small talk. As my friends and I entered the vehicle, I quickly concluded that his review of “great talker” was not at all accurate. The entirety of the 30 minute drive, not a peep was heard. Luckily, though, the awkward silence was covered up with abrupt blasts of Jamaican music. The car reeked of marijuana. I shifted towards the car door and shriveled in my seat, feeling more uncomfortable by the minute. A thirty-minute ride somehow felt like a never-ending drive. The only form of communication the entire ride took place towards the end. As we neared closer to my house, I reminded him to make a right turn. The driver shook his head aggressively at my words and without hesitation responded, “I don’t like being told where to go.” I simply just shut up for the last two minutes of the drive. My biggest regret of the whole ride was accidentally pressing five stars when I got out of the vehicle.