What your Uber driver really does as a human being

 

The first impression about an Uber driver is a pattern the passenger transfers from his earlier experience with using a taxi. When I started using Uber instead of taxi, I have noticed the difference. In a taxi I expected to just get to my destination. In 90% of the cases, the only exchange of words included the address and “take a left here please”. The conversation between driver and passenger is a critical part of the entire Uber customer experience. And I enjoyed the openness of the Uber drivers every time I used the service.

Now, as an Uber driver, I have similar experiences and I find a secret pleasure in the sudden realization that hits a passenger when discovers that his driver is so much more.  Because I mostly wander downtown on Front or Queen Street, I get a lot of passengers working for consultancy or ad agencies. And it’s fun when you can interject into their conversation with a second opinion or good advice.

But one of the funniest for me was today’s phone job interview. I had a job interview scheduled for 2 p.m. I accepted a ping around 1:45 being certain that it will be a short ride and I’ll be free for the call. It didn’t happen. I had three people in the car all nice and chatty, therefore I chose to risk it and told them:

“Look, I have a call for a job at 2, Will it be OK if I go with it while you’re still in the car?”

They said OK and I think they were kind of curios how is this going to happen. For them I was just the driver and suddenly they felt the need to ask about the position I was applying for and so on. A small pause followed when I told them about the job and what I was really doing for a living outside Uber. And I enjoyed it. Come on! I have the same need for social recognition as anybody else!

The phone chimed. I transferred the call on the car speaker system and kept driving. Questions and answers. Examples of situations and how I dealt with them pertaining to various skills. All in all, quite a fast and comprehensive interview. When it was done, 30 minutes later, in the car was silence. After other three minutes of silence, we arrived at our destination.

One of the girls broke the silence:

“That was cool.”

P.S. Job application status. One week later: I didn’t get the job.

Short disclaimer: The Journal of an Uber Driver is a work of fiction.
Long disclaimer: The literary exercise to define a nowadays character for a novel led me to create these 30 blog posts. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Any opinion expressed about Uber should not be interpreted as having a negative connotation. I admire the company as an incumbent of the platform economy and I am a registered Uber driver for research purposes.