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Anecdotes of a Ride-Share driver during Pandemic 2020

You know, 2020 brought a lot things our way we weren’t prepared for. I for one am very surprised I’m still standing. One life changing event during 2020 for me was starting to drive for a popular ride-share service. I signed up the beginning of January to make some extra money to pour into my business. Little did I know, three months later I would be dubbed an essential worker and I’d be risking my health while making sure the general population gets to where they need to go and people who are too lazy to cook get their food delivered. 

It’s not that easy…kinda.

It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? Pick up a rider or a delivery and drive to the destination. For the most part, it really *is* that simple. To be frank, it’s the easiest job I’ve ever had. However, there are certain instances that are borderline abuse. Take for example when a food delivery comes in, most people don’t know that we get the amount we’re making for the entire ride flashed on our screen. Sometimes- no, I’m lying- a *good* amount of the time, it shows that you’re not tipping and expect us to deliver your food in the middle of a pandemic for just the $2 base pay, all while driving 20 minutes to your location (not including the time we’re forced to wait [10-20 minutes] for your food to be made), and sometimes following ridiculous expectations on where to leave your food. Ha!

Punish the bad little driver?

I know what you’re thinking! “Just don’t accept those runs!” Trust me, my motto has become “NO TIP NO DELIVERY”. Every time I see that $2 dollar delivery flash across my screen, I hit X quicker than a king cobra spits venom. However, every time we hit X and refuse to make deliveries to non-tippers, we’re penalized by having our acceptance rates lowered and thus stripping us of our hard earned statuses and benefits if they hit a certain low. This ultimately forces us to accept trips at times that are a loss rather than earned income. Whether people like to accept it or not, drivers need to make a living and not give free rides. That’s just good math baby. 

You didn’t really need me and you know it

Food deliveries are one thing, giving people rides are another. There aren’t as many drivers out on the road as there were before pandemic- I get it. So sometimes the wait for a driver can be up to 30 minutes or more. My issue is when someone calls for a ride and I’m 20 minutes away just to find out the person was going up the road. That is abuse. Yes, I’m offered a pick-up premium but it’s nothing compared to the fare of an actual 20 minute ride! Let’s not forget that if we’re left in a location that’s a dead zone we literally have to drive another 20 minutes to get another ride. If you can walk to your destination in under 10 minuets and there isn’t a snowstorm or downpour going on, you don’t need to make someone go out of their way to pick you up. Period.

Like, I could have died

Let’s also take into consideration that our job is pretty gosh darn dangerous. We’re literally on the road all day surrounded by people who are idiots when they drive. Trust me, there are a lot of near-misses, and sometimes, if we’re unlucky enough, car crashes. I for one, got into a hideous accident on Christmas eve that could have cost me my life while taking a woman to an Xmas party (don’t worry lady, I wont tell the government you were breaking pandemic rules). The other person involved in the crash was an illegal resident and he didn’t have a license, he gave a fake name that couldn’t be found on the computer, oh and guess what? No insurance either. I’m fortunate that I was driving a rental through the ride-share company and my own vehicle wasn’t the one that was lost. I have God to thank for sparing my life and the ability to walk and breathe on my own- it was a head on collision. 

Danger on the road is an absolute reality for us just like danger inside the vehicle (God protect me) is also a thing. Let’s face it, I’m a woman. Yippee. I have the blessing of having something a lot of men want that I *don’t* want to give them. Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of creeps get in my car. One in particular was asking me if he could drive at night past midnight doing ride-share after asking me personal questions I didn’t feel comfortable telling a complete stranger- it’s not what he said, it’s how he said it- let’s just put it that way. I’ve had men ask me for my phone number, tell me my voice was soothing or sexy, and stay in my car even after we’ve arrived at their destination making small talk. Listen, if you’re a dude and get a lady driver, don’t be gross. Get out of the car and give a GENEROUS tip to express your interest. We may or may not say “thank you”. 

Smell you later but I would rather not

Apart from the danger and frustration of people’s lack of consideration, there is one thing in particular that irks me big time about being a ride-share driver. Smells. Yup, some people smell HORRIBLE. Whether it’s marijuana stank, cheap perfume stank, or feet stank- it’s still stank. And yes, I can still smell you while wearing a mask. Even if it’s faint, a hint of people’s body odor stays in the car after they leave (everyone has a very distinct aroma or odor). In late November, I had a guy get into my car with horse manure on his shoes. When he got into the car it was a punch in the nose but because I was wearing a mask I couldn’t really identify what the stank was. I just knew it was other world stank. When he got out of my car, I drove away and parked to see the extent of the damage. Horse poop all up on my car floor!  

Oh God. One thing this pandemic has shown me is that people have serious hygiene problems and that surface appearances mean jack. Don’t get me wrong, some people smell heavenly and there have been many a time where I’ve asked what perfume or cologne they’re wearing. As a general rule though, I keep my window slightly open, even if it’s freezing out. On a side note ladies, after-shower splashes, STOP WEARING THEM- please! They are not perfume. I say this with the outmost delicacy, I swear.

I’ve met beautiful people doing ride-share. Some have followed my business on instagram, others I’ve become friends with and we share an occasional meaningful conversation. Overall, it’s not a bad occupation when you put the lack of tipping and almost dying in a car crash aside. It’s not something I plan to do forever. My business is my baby and I’m praying 2021 is its year. I hope this sheds some light into the a few struggles of a ride-share driver. So whether you’re ordering food or driving to your Covid spreading party, be considerate of the inconveniences and dangers we go through every day just to make a living. And don’t forget to tip and wear your mask right dammit! 

Liked this blog post? I hope to blog more for 2021. If you liked it and found it mildly entertaining I would appreciate you giving it a share. Visibility helps me reach more potential customers and keeps my business afloat! Thank you in advance.

About the writer: I’m Vanessa. I’m the owner and designer at Modestly Cupcake, a modest fashion brand I started in 2018. My goal is to cater to an underserved group of women in the modest fashion space all while spreading empowerment awareness and love of modesty. Every now and again I write my deepest thoughts and feelings in hopes I can awaken other’s thoughts or possibly introduce them to a different perspective. I’m a single mom and homeschooler (way before pandemic) with a quirky fashion sense and a suppressed desire for more knowledge and experiences. I genuinely believe we can achieve more understanding in this world with sweetness, eloquence, and a cute fashion sense. If you agree, let’s connect on Instagram and Facebook. Much love to all of you. Stay positive. Body positive.

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