The Uber Experience

Samantha Bailon, Chief Editor

Phone in hand, app pulled up, and car rolling in. I take my seat and kindly introduce myself along with a hello. The car filled with silence, no response was made leaving my brain racing in search of a reason for such neglect. My attitude flipped, my only resolution would be to review my driver, Lakesha, with a two star review so as to permanently display my act of revenge. Once pulling into my destination, my finger ready, I glanced at a note next to the driver’s picture, an area that is usually left blank and overlooked: Lakesha was deaf and I was a fool.

Uber, a transportation network company, was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009. It has since blossomed into one of the largest internet company worldwide by revenue, reaching number six at 20 billion USD in 2016. Within the last year, the company has also released UberEats, a food delivery service that delivers meals from participating restaurants within your area.

As an avid user of both services, Uber has become one of the most resourceful and reliable applications on my phone. For those without a car, and limited time to wait for public transportation or refusal to interrupt someone’s day for a ride Uber is always there and ready on your schedule. It is also beneficial to one’s social skills, as customers and drivers usually talk to break any tension or awkwardness along the ride. As always the later the night gets the better the stories.

After work one day, at around 9:00 p.m along with my cousin we had decided to go to downtown for no particular reason and we wanted to take the Sunrail. A lovely woman in her late 50’s had picked us up in her blue BMW mini cooper. We instantly complimented her taste in cars and she welcomed us with a story. She had just recently gotten into a car accident the day after her daughter had been in one as well and this was her first night back on the road. She claimed it was the car and God who had saved her and her daughter. BMW Mini Coopers are apparently the safest car, which is why her, her daughter, and even her son all own one. It was a family thing I suppose. When asked about our ventures we told her we were heading downtown but first wished to take the Sunrail. Her motherly response was of course “at this hour?” we nodded and giggled assuring her we go out all the time. Just three minutes away at a red light, she grabbed our hands and insisted we pray. I have never been a strong advocate for religion but the driver won us over with her sweet desire to wish us a safe night despite just meeting. The total time for this ride was approximately 10 minutes, the best thing about Uber is it opens you up to new things and people all within a short time frame.

Another memorable Uber ride was a 30 minute trip from my job to my grandparents in Winter Park. A young due in his early 20’s had been my driver for the night, he was calm, cool and had expressed past mistakes to share and help guide me with my future. One had been his recent schemes his close friends he had played at various Wal-marts. He was the second best thief in his group and says he occasionally liked to steal as a sense of rebellion. He was internally a teenager, and had countless stories on juvenile crimes since he was 14 years old. He is now banned at the closest three Wal-Marts from his house and his close friend had recently been locked up but he said he was still “aight.” He was my alter-ego and we would most definitely had never been friends in high school.

When you take Uber a lot you develop your own stories, my friend once had a driver that would cut his nails at every red light and one of my past drivers had two friends fight in his car and smash his window. I’ve had the survivalist uber driver, with everything a rider may need from phone chargers, to snacks and even tablets to break out musicians, one who had just came back from performing at a festival in Los Angeles. It can be a crazy ordeal but a very new and exciting way to spice up your rides rather than waiting on your parents. Some cases are a hit or miss but it opens up an opportunity to meet new people, which is the best part of Uber.