There are many types of riders that an Uber driver will eventually get, and we will introduce the top twelve. There are few more types not mentioned here; we decided to concentrate on these types since they appear more often than not.
The door slammer
This rider is absolutely annoying, only because you know that he is going to rattle your car till it shakes apart at the seams. This guy/gal and yes, it’s usually a guy, gets in and slams the door. Only that’s not enough; he has to open and close it a few times just to make sure the door is actually closed. Each time you imagine cracks appearing in your rear door window and hoping the locking mechanism doesn’t disintegrate into dust. There is nothing much you can do with this guy/gal, except ask them politely to close the door gently when they leave the car. As if! It now becomes a religious commitment to slam the door so hard the car slides over three lanes and hits the barrier in the middle. Only then do you realize the passenger was from ‘Asgard.’
In sits a waft of smell, I mean you can chew on the nicotine odor that enters the car. You image that after this you either replace the upholstery or go get a chest PET scan just to be sure. If you are lucky, he does not cough and wheeze. Otherwise, you get the loud coughing smoker, or should I say coffin smoker. It’s amazing that these guys live so long, or is it that everyone around them drops dead after a week from smoker’s radiation poisoning. This rider gets in and rolls down the window, no asking, just rolls it down, it could be a heatwave or in the middle of a snowstorm, down comes the window and then comes the question “Hey man, “cough cough” you don’t mind I smoke a quick one? You won’t feel “cough cough” it.” My only response is, sorry dude; you will have to smoke outside, I am allergic to nicotine.
The messy eater
Chomp chomp chomp…crumbles all over the seats and floor. That’s if your lucky and the passenger is only eating some dry stuff. I had one guy get in with a wet sloppy joe and man; I am so lucky to have leather seats. I mean, have you ever cleaned up mustard, ketchup, and slime that has no description other than…well, slime. If this is not enough, out comes the coke in a cardboard cup and slosh slosh it all over. Then, he wipes his mouth with his hand and guess where that goes. Yes, sure enough, on the seat, on the window and other places hard to imagine. I always ask them to consider the car interior and to use the plastic or paper container they have with their meal. If not, I give them a napkin I keep for this instance, and I still ask that they do not eat while in the car, if possible.
OK, so its either a business call or a social one, but this is a shouting match with a smartphone. In gets the passenger with earbuds and mic. Shouting as if the guy he is talking to is halfway across the world, which they might probably be, but man, you got a smartphone, you don’t need to shout, everyone can hear you, even the deaf. This passenger sits down, gives you a quick “hello” and “take me to…” and continues to have a 2,000-decibel conversation that would deafen an AC/DC concert. My usual action is to ask them to try and speak softer; sometimes it works, other times they ignore me, saying “sorry man” and continue to shout.
The overly dramatic
I just love these passengers. I mean “ain’t that cute” the way they go all terrified like a rabbit in the headlights of a truck. You’re driving along, using your Waze, all is fine, the traffic is normal and suddenly, out of nowhere, a wail of anguish as if his entire family was kidnapped by ISIS, the guy points to the road and shouts out; “Why? Oh, Why did you not turn right? Don’t you know this is my car now? I am the passenger; I am the director, you don’t go anywhere without my approval…Shit, now I am going to be late. OMG, OMG…and yes, OMG…I am going to be laaaate.” All you need is to add some melodramatic music, and it’s an epic comedy scene. Add to this the riders threaten to call Uber directly to complain. Good luck with that, if you manage to reach Uber in a single phone call then go fill out the State lottery immediately.
The party animal
This or these guys get in and don’t realize they haven’t reached the party yet. It’s all loud singing, shouting and gleeful sexual comments about the chics that will be at the partyyyy! Put up the music, roll down the windows; everyone has got to know about the PARTEEEEE. This is a roller coaster ride of happiness on adrenaline, and you can only hope it’s only adrenaline. Most of the time you will need to make sure they understand that the music you have on is not going to get any louder, and can they please keep their body parts in the car, you don’t want them to lose a head, hand or upper torso to another passing car or street sign.
The back seat driver
This is one of the worst riders to have, especially if they are aggressive. I mean, it’s a one continuous ride headache. If you’re lucky, he or she will sit in the back, if not, then be prepared for some physical experiences with this rider from hell. It’s all about…"Hey, you’re not going the right way, don’t you know how to drive? Why are you braking? Shit, man the light is green! OMG, can’t you go faster, sure it’s a 20-mile speed limit, who cares, everyone goes forty here. Don’t use Waze, listen to me, go left, go right, go left, do a u-turn, sure it’s OK, I do it all the time. WTF are you doing…jeez, you don’t know crap about driving, how did Uber even take you!? There is no real way to deal with this kind of passenger, they are loud, obnoxious and tend to know it all. You just sit there nodding with a stupid grin on your face, sort of like Ted Bundy but without the next step of his process.
The possible drug dealer
These can be a bit scary, only because they could be armed and if scared, will be dangerous. They get in the back and talk on their phones. It’s all about prices man, 'k’s and grams and sure we can shave off a few cents a gram. Then it’s about, “my driver is like tall with glasses and a white t-shirt” then they tell you, "hey man, do me a favor, go around the back, the guy will see you, it’s OK, just nod to him. So now you have an issue with the law. What do you do? Each situation is different. The best thing to do is to state that you cannot leave the car for any reason and that you cannot and are not allowed to do any kind of business from the car since it is only for transportation. If the guy gets edgy, then comply, but make sure your dash cam is recording everything, and then go to the cops after the passenger dismounts. The last thing you want is to be involved in a drug deal, but if you are, don’t endanger your life. Once the passenger is out, go to the cops, make a statement and CYA.
Any Uber driver that drives at night will have had this guy or gal. They sway into the car, mumbling or talking loudly. Their words are usually jumbled at times, or they talk loudly and with great emotion. Just when you think you are safe, and nearly home they go and throw up all over your back seat and floor. If this is not enough, they wipe their mouth with their hands and then smear it all over the place. So now you get them home and start the disinfection routine.
The closet racist
These guys get in, and they can come in all sizes colors and races. Racism isn’t reserved for whites; it is the nectar of small-minded idiots. They get in and start talking in an amicable way, but include racial slurs in their speech, usually out of habit. They don’t even notice there are doing it. That’s why they are called closet racists. If your skin is a darker shade of bronze, then you are automatically tagged "Abdul, or Jaffar, " and you are most probably on the FBI’s most wanted list, and where were you on the 9/11?
The drive thru
These riders and we all have them, usually come at night after a show. They are hungry and want to eat. So, they ask you to stop at a McDonalds or other drive-thru. Since we get paid mainly per mile and not much per minute, I don’t like waiting 15 minutes for a meal that my rider will mess my car up with. I just state, “sorry, I cant do that, it’s against company policy and I don’t want to lose my driving account.” This usually does the trick.
The Underage teen
You get a request, you drive to the pickup, and there stands a young teenager, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. Now it's against company policy to take teens, so you can cancel the ride stating it was an underage passenger alone. BUT, I think most of us still want the money from the ride, so we tend to bed the rules on this one a bit and state that it's against company policy but heck, we don't want to leave them outside alone. This usually gets a good response. The only issue is that some teens can be unruly, in a teen kind of way, so you just need to be patient with music issues and such.