1,001 Philly Lyft Rides
I have been driving part time for the past year or so for the taxi app "Lyft" and last Saturday night I gave my 1,000th passenger ride! I had intended to mark the occasion somehow, perhaps a selfie or some useless trinket for the lucky passenger. However I didn't even realized the big moment had come and gone until I checked my ride log when I got home that night and saw my lifetime total was at 1,001.
Not really a big deal in the end. The lucky passenger was just a guy on his way home from a long day at work who was a little disappointed I arrived too late to take him to the liquor store on the way. I did want to stop and reflect a bit on both the experience itself and a few of the memorable passengers I've encountered. If I really put my mind to it how many of those 1,001 rides could I even recall?
The first ride is easy enough, you always remember your first time. Right? Funny how that works, I have no recollection of the second ride at all. It was an early morning pick up of a young woman on her way into work at McDonald's. I have had a few repeat rides I can recall including the same girl going to work again. A somewhat elderly lady and what I guess to be her grandson rode with me on back to back weekends. I remember them because it took a minute for me to realize the child was blind and probably a little challenged mentally. He enjoyed when I selected my classical playlist, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Why do I remember that?
I had a group of ladies on the way out for a Friday night on the town I also picked up twice. They were all excited to see me again! Passengers can view the driver and vehicle when they select the ride and apparently I left a good first impression. That's always a nice feeling! I had two young gentlemen on their way from some sort of seminar at a local Holiday Inn to the guest house where they were staying the night. They liked my silk Spiderman shirt I was wearing. Said I had "Swag", which I took to be a compliment. I asked if they had any contemporary music they would like to share during the ride and they seemed reluctant. There were, as they said, "cuss words" in the lyrics. My reply of "No sh**" received approving giggles and we jammed to some lovely rap artists for the duration of the ride.
It's no Brandenburg, but then, what is right? Just for some background, I may be young and hip on the inside but on the outside I appear to be a white guy who's been around long enough to use the word "hip" without any trace of irony. My passengers were neither. I do reflect often on how easily I sometime form relationships with people which are fated to last no more than twenty minutes.
Often passengers are curious about other rides I've given and experiences I've had. One of my favorite throw out lines in this situation is, "I once took five girls to Brooklyn and made two hundred dollars! Which sounds dirty, but it wasn't". That one usually gets a laugh and a little awe. More background, I drive in Philly. The ride to NYC that night was almost two hours and the girls had the aux cord smoking hot for pretty much the whole ride. I started rapping along with one of the tunes and garnered some "street cred" on that! Got a hefty tip and a nice five star review to boot.
I get asked about negative experiences often as well. Really, out of a thousand rides I've had very few that even come close to being notable. Most involve drunk white kids! To be fair I've had a number of perfectly enjoyable drunk white kids ride with me. Mostly I'm happy they are being responsible enough to call for a ride and not trying to drive. One girl was not happy at my refusal to be "her Uber" for the night by going off clock and taking cash. Lyft provides a million dollar liability coverage for passengers, I don't. She then expressed her displeasure by licking the inside of my window before getting out. Very classy!
The DNC comes to town!!
Well, that was an interesting week... Lots of rides, lots of traffic, and quite a few interesting political discussions. Picked up a "Bill for First Lady" pin from one passenger, even though the conversation soured a bit when she stated her hope that I wasn't a supporter of the 2nd amendment and my response was that I supported all of the original 10 amendments. One of her party, a younger fellow, was a bit confused when I praised the 3rd as the last of the untrammeled devices. He whispered an aside to one of his companions, "What's the 3rd amendment?" I'm hopeful he looked it up!
Met my very first official "Gonzo" journalist. Interesting ride, picked him and his buddy up on the corner of Broad and Pattison just before a deluge style rain storm. He conducted an online live interview with someone in the gonzo world from the backseat of my Dodge Journey. Seems he had been present at some major dust up involving one of those infamous right wing talkies and everyone was very excited to hear all about it! Got a Facebook add out it and still get a comment or like from the dude every now and then.
Background info add. I'm a Libertarian supporter and while I seldom initiate political conversations during a ride, I don't shy away from them when they do occur. It does still amuse me to whisper "Gary Johnson" whenever someone bemoans the antics of the current administration.
I don't know that there is any sort of natural ending to this story. Out of a thousand and one rides I suppose I remember details of perhaps a few dozen more. Maybe I'll post a part II later. I do wonder from time to time about the others that for one reason or another didn't leave any lasting impression. I'm not sure what really separates those from the ones that I do recall. Overall I've enjoyed meeting almost all of my riders, I hope life treats them all well as they go about from here to there. If you have ever wondered about joining the community, by all means reach out! I’d be happy to share any information you might find useful.