You Look Like Dollars

UK Drunk Women

This says something about you if you know what I am talking about. A guy driving a car, sometimes a cab or an Uber, sometimes not, stops for a woman on the sidewalk. She conveniently walks up to the front passenger window. They chat for a bit, the gist of which is that she’s willing to trade sex for a ride. It happens. The video stops before she gets to her destination. The video was never about the ride.

I became a cab driver at age 21. I was the youngest member of Taxi Unlimited up to that point. Even then it mattered that my passengers got where they were going and I got paid. Later on Taxi Taxi got the contract to carry abused women to secret shelters. We were under contractual agreement to keep the shelter location and the details of the ride secret. Most of these rides were short. I did them happily.

Uber launched in Richmond in August 2014. I was one of the drivers who started at the launch. Very quickly I developed a trade carrying drunk, young women home from that night’s debauchery. There were some women from the University of Richmond who wondered if I would cross that line and do the porn trope that started this post. I will not. My job depends on the trust of the women who ride with me. My sense of right & wrong does not include my fat ass nekkid and dancing the horizontal bop with a young woman who began as an Uber rider.

There have been court cases in Houston, Chicago and other cities of Uber drivers who went there. They slept with (?raped?) a rider. Those guys were convicted in at least one case. They deserve the sentencing and labeling as a sexual predator. Assholes.

Riders look like money to me. I know that if I complete the ride I get money. I know that my bills are a bottomless, hungry maw I have to keep shoveling cash into. Riders are one way I get that cash. So, the UofR women and men who toyed with the fantasy in the porn trope are asking me to give up my money for some bump & grind. The ask is too big.

On initial contact with a rider I care about four things, am I going to get paid, is this rider safe, how much trouble will it be to get them out of the car at the end, and do they want to talk? I care about doing my job well. As the ride proceeds I care about completing the ride well. But, you, dear customer, do I care about you? Not really.

So, if this is now an unpaid incident with you, I need you gone ASAP. I actually like it if you cuss me out and storm off. It’s faster that way. Plus, if you had ideas about robbing me, I, pissed off and rude, don’t make an easy target. Gun? You better fire that thing in the first 5 seconds. If I have a chance to take it from you I will. As I do, I’m going to hurt you. Then when the cops show up I’m going to cry like a little bitch that you tried to kill me. You owe me $120.00 for the 2-3 hours I have to waste dealing with you and the cops.

Badly behaved customers make better content. Nobody really cares about the majority that get in my cab, get driven where they are going, pay me and get out. The customers that get remembered are people like Mary Garst, who wanted me to cut down a pecan tree in the front yard of a home in the Berkeley Hills. Or the guy who wouldn’t get out of my cab until I got out and began to wait for a bus to take me home and decided to also wait for a bus. Or the thirty-something puking customer. Or the coke-psychotic guy who spent $500.00 riding around the Bay Area to escape aliens who were spying on him.

Beyond you who are my present task, I care about getting home safely tonight with enough money. That frat boy fantasy of some beers with a hot, docile sorority sister, the porn trope one, is a nightmare for me. I lose the time it takes to traverse the narrative from, “do ya wanna” to blissful exhaustion. Time is money so it is money lost. I also lose whatever I spend on the way to cuddling after. Plus, and this is huge, there are so many ways that this could go south for me that it just isn’t’ worth it. I need to get you where you are going, get paid, get you out of my car, and get to the next ride.