I recently announced on Facebook that I had been driving Uber and got some interesting responses. People sent me direct messages asking if I had fallen on hard times and if there was anything that they could do to help. I was caught off guard. Then I realized that my perception of what Uber is was different than what the mainstream thought. I guess I should be more self-conscious (not really).
The stigma of ridesharing
I began to realize that there was a stigma around ridesharing. It seems many people looked at it as a lowly and menial job. It is an extension of taxi driving, which also has a stigma around it. Many people perceive taxi drivers to be immigrants that do not have the skills necessary to do other jobs. However, it's time for us to transform those stigmas.
I know a doctor that drives for a ridesharing company. He obviously has plenty of other skills. Many people would love to be doctors. He doesn't have to do the work for the money, and he is older and a little socially awkward. But, he is a natural workaholic. He rideshares because he wants to, not because he doesn’t have other options.
I also had the opportunity to meet a young man who fled from Iraq after being shot for crossing to the wrong side of the street. You never know where people are coming from or what their story is until you engage in a conversation. Maybe we should change the way we think about people who provide certain services. Stop being so quick to judge others.
Why I like ridesharing
Simply put, I love meeting new people. I enjoy having good chats with the person that I am driving or the person driving me. There is so much that we can learn from other people. Next time you are sitting around in a waiting room look around. No one talks to each other anymore. Everyone sits staring down at the phone in their hand. When you are driving there is little else that you can do than to talk and listen.
Driving for a ridesharing company like Uber can help you learn your way around a new city. You get to find out where everyone is hanging out. I have found all sorts of new restaurants through ridesharing. It also provides a way to socialize with people when you are new to an area.
Tips to improve the ride for both you:
If you have never taken advantage of ridesharing I encourage you to give it a try. But, remember that your driver is a person and they deserve to be treated as such. Here are some tips to help make the ride better for both of you:
Remember that your driver is not your servant. They are a human being. I think of Uber as a ride from a fellow member of my community. Think of it as you wanting to call a friend for a ride, but you don’t want to inconvenience them. This is a friend who doesn’t mind giving you a ride in the moment.
Think before you leave a review or rating. Before you give a crappy rating take a minute to stop and think. Are you having a bad day? Did you get to your destination safely? Was the driver polite? They don't have to be chatty or they may have missed your cue that you are the chatty type, but ratings impact their ability to provide future service. The car might not be as fancy as some of the others, but if they are driving they have met Uber’s requirement.
You can ride in the front seat. Do you get upset when your friends get in the back if it is just the two of you? Do you climb in the back when there are no other passengers riding with your friend? Think of Uber as a buddy.
Tipping isn’t necessary but showing gratitude is appreciated. It gets awkward in the last few seconds when you try to make a break for it because you are unsure if you should tip or not. Or, you want to leave a tip but don’t have cash on hand. Never fear, Uber doesn't encourage tipping. BUT a good old fashioned genuine “Thanks have a great day!" Goes a long way.
Help me eliminate the stigma around ridesharing.