Steve Oke Chapchap Market
Hell is other people and few people know this better than Uber drivers. The ride-hailing transportation company has transformed global taxi markets, and made it possible to get around with just the tap of a button. But that ease and simplicity comes with a cost for its drivers.
Uber drivers will often see people at their very worst: Drunk, angry, late, and entitled. We asked Uber drivers to tell us about some of the worst passengers they’ve ever experienced, from intoxicated carnage to sexual harassment.
These are their stories.
Also Read: 5 People Share The Worst Things ‘Drunk Them’ Did
“I’d rather drive 4 drunk college kids than 1 drunk middle-aged man any day.”
One female driver recounted how a few weeks ago in the Bronx, a “drunken ahole” who “tried to grope me and lay on my lap while I was driving with his wife and two of her friends in the backseat before throwing up 4 times less than a block away from the drop-off point.”
She added: “Thank God for rubber mats. Hope he enjoyed that 40 minute ride cause it ended up costing him over $200. You can take the trash out of the trailer but you can’t take the trailer out of the trash.”
“The $200 included the fine for the mess. The original fare was about $50 and then Uber charged the additional $150 cleaning fee. They don’t play around with that. If somebody pukes in the car and you can prove it with pictures, then you’re definitely getting that $150 cleaning fee.
“It’s the first time I’ve had somebody throw up in the car. I’ve had one other person who needed me to stop twice on the way home so he could get out to throw up. I turned down another rider once because her friend was standing outside of my car puking on the sidewalk. I had a drunk man touch the back of my neck while I was driving too.
“I will say that it’s usually the 40+ men who tend to be the worst passengers. I’m a female driver and it’s usually this demographic that gives me the worst trouble. They’re the ones who tend to be sloppy drunks and who make me uncomfortable in the car. The drunk college kids just want to put music on and take selfies. I’d rather driver 4 drunk college kids than 1 drunk middle-aged man any day.”
“I might be having an LSD flashback.”
And then there’s just the downright weird.
“I once picked up a man and woman who were both dressed and made up as Uncle Sam. Like, professional level costumes and latex facial features and all. Movie quality Uncle Sams. Other than size, they looked exactly alike,” wrote a driver in St. Louis, Missouri.
“OK, I think, this should be fun…
“They then get into a raging argument because apparently female [Uncle Sam] was flirting with someone other than male [Uncle Sam]. Male [Uncle Sam] was apparently ignoring female [Uncle Sam], whom he claimed disappeared only to be found later at the back bar, seemingly with her her vengeful s–t gene fully activated.
“Screaming, followed by silence, followed by them trying to drag me into the argument as a third party observer who is thinking I might be having an LSD flashback, followed by screaming, and then it happened … 10 minutes of watching Uncle Sam doing a let’s make up – make out session with himself. Really?
Two old bearded men in tall hats throat tonguing each other. I still get shivers.”
“I know I would be his next target if I didn’t stay on my toes.”
Rudeness and a huge sense of entitlement is a common theme.
“Last night I got a request from the Chatsworth [California] train station from this big older guy wearing a suit. He puts his luggage in the back without saying hello and once he enters my car, he immediately asks me to move the seat forward, adjust the [air conditioning], and turn the music off. tells me we’re going to Beverly Hills and I start the ride.
“We don’t talk at all for the first 10 minutes, and then he calls his hotel and asks the guy about the deposit for the reservation. I don’t know what the hell this hotel clerk could have said to him but seconds later he says ‘I don’t like your tone, don’t speak that way to me. let me talk to your manager, you’re being a fugging &%$@!* and I want to cancel my reservation.’ All in one breath. this was a very angry man and he made me uncomfortable and I know I would be his next target if I didn’t stay on my toes. He hangs up right before we are going to get on the freeway and asks me to turn around and go towards Ventura BLVD which is the complete opposite direction across the valley.
“I say okay … can you please update the destination? he says hold on, and proceeds to call the hotel again and chew out a different clerk, he says ‘I need my reservation cancelled immediately or I will have you and the other asshole sued.’ Hangs up and then tells me to drive back to the train station where I picked him up from. So instead of getting a nice ride to Beverly Hills where it would be busier than Chatsworth, I literally get 9 bucks to drive this guy in a big ass circle while listening to him make a scene.”
“Having someone completely unresponsive in your backseat brings up a number of challenges.”
For all the trouble that rowdy passengers can make, sometimes that can be preferable to the alternative.
“One of the worst situations you can find yourself in as an Uber driver is when a bar over serves, calls an Uber for their nearly passed out patron and they put them in your backseat and tell you their home is loaded in as the destination,” a Phoenix, Arizona driver said. “The lesson is that drivers have to always lock their doors before allowing anybody into their vehicle.
“Having someone completely unresponsive in your backseat brings up a number of challenges. There are few things a driver can do. Call 911 or just deliver them to the police if they fail to wake. Vomit can be cleaned up, but a dead drunk body …
“Outside of that, it’s simply the body fluids the worst of which in my estimation is blood on cloth seats.”
“He could have got me fired.”
Then some passengers are outright liars — endangering drivers’ livelihoods.
“Worst [passenger] was a young kid late at night,” wrote a Salt Lake City, Utah driver. “He later submitted a false report to Uber in order to try to get his fare refunded, claiming that I had driven dangerously, sped and committed road rage against other drivers. He could have got me fired over his $13 fare.
“Uber issued me a warning, and a threat that ‘if I did it again’ I’d be deactivated. I told them that the [passenger] was a liar and showed them the trip record. Average speed was 21 mph, which blew the liar’s claim out of the water and shut Uber up.”
“The sound he made will come to haunt me I’m sure, it was an animalistic grunt that I didn’t know a human could make.”
And some stories are just nightmarish.