In August and Everything After, You Get a Little Less Than You Expected


August 1st was the Ronda Rousey/Bethe Correia fight and I drove intermittently during the night so that I could watch the fight and beat all the drunks in poker. It was somewhat of a slow night while I balanced my social life with my hustlin’ skills.

Come bar closing time, there were few drivers on the road so I ended up picking up a crew of friends and taking two trips from the same bar to the same apartment complex. Other than that, it was a pretty mellow night with only five fares total.

Since I was probably one of the very few not hungover on Sunday Funday, I logged into driver mode fairly early that morning. My first call came around 9:30 am. It would be a ride to remember as I picked up my very first law enforcement officer. He lived in a house on a corner across the street from a wooden fence where his patrol vehicle was parked.

I noticed the cop car across the street when I pulled up and made a quick u-turn so that I was directly in front of the house and across from the roller. I confirmed my arrival through the app and tapped “Blair’s” profile picture of him and his wife. It showed that Blair and I had four mutual friends including a local bail agent and a DA investigator. Yep, I was picking up a cop.

It just so happened to be Blair’s birthday and he and the wife were meeting some friend’s at a popular Basque restaurant for brunch. Over the weekend, Blair had gotten into a fight with a saw and ended up needing 13 stitches in his arm. He showed me pictures.

We made our way out of his neighborhood and when we approached our first stop sign, I made it a point to have both hands on the wheel, slowly creep to the limit line and look over at Blair and say “Full and complete stop, officer.”

His wife laughed from the backseat and Blair puffed out a breath and said, “I don’t even care about that stuff anymore.” I learned that Blair was about two years away from retiring and can’t be bothered with the paperwork anymore. He did say that the Mrs. tends to have a heavy foot.

“Sometimes I don’t even notice how fast I’m going!” She piped up.

We then got on the subject of DUIs and how their son had gotten one and now that Uber and Lyft are in town, the entire family takes advantage of the service. I had the 80’s station playing and both Blair and his wife loved the music selection as we made our way to their destination. We had a very pleasant conversation, though I never admitted to them what I do for a living. Then again, they never asked.

Once I got them to the restaurant, Blair sat in my front seat until he had completed a five-star rating and tipped me on the app. It wasn’t until the next day that I saw that he had been very generous with his gratuity because #CopTipsMatter. 😉

My next fare came from the train station, although the train had not yet arrived. “Sim” was an Indian college student from Fresno State. She was in town to hang out with one of her friends who was getting ready to head back to India to get married.

Sim was working on her Masters in Electrical Engineering. I asked her if she would be heading back to India once she completed her studies and she said she didn’t want to go back. I suppose I don’t blame her since this is probably the first taste of freedom she’s had this far away from home. When I asked what she did for fun in Fresno, she smiled shyly and admitted that apart from school, all she does is study. I admire that tenacity and discipline because they are virtues I have never seemed to possess.

Artie was next pax and was running late to work so we didn’t get to do our normal drive-thru run that are typical of my rides with him.

Late in the afternoon, I logged back in and picked up a very tipsy “Laura” from Johnny Garlic’s. Laura revealed that her grandfather was retired law enforcement and her uncle was a training officer still on the force. Despite coming from a family of LEOs, Laura was adamant that it was important for people to know their rights when they get pulled over or questioned in public by the cops. Apparently she’s had a few run-ins with officers herself. Once we reached her destination and I dropped her off, I checked my rearview mirror and saw that she was getting into the car parked in front…on the driver’s side. Now I have an idea as to why she has run-ins with police. But that’s none of my business.

The following Monday night, I only had one request. “Colby” was a massage therapist and I picked him and his massage table up from the house of one of his clients. We chatted a bit about Lyft as a service and he expressed his desire for a feature that allows pax to choose their drivers. I thought that was an interesting and good idea which could weed out some of the shittier drivers. But if people have favorite drivers and the ability to choose which driver they get, that could work against some of the newer drivers who may have just started. But it could mean big bucks for good drivers who have loyal riders.

I logged in later in the week fairly early in the day and picked up “Stewart” from downtown. Stewart explained that he had gotten a DUI a couple of years before and was just on the road to getting his license back, but had nothing but good things to say about Lyft and its drivers. Stewart was a farmer who used the service often since it was much cheaper than hiring a full time driver to chauffeur him around all the time.

It’s funny how everybody has a story. Shortly after I dropped Stewart off on the north side of town, another request came through from a nearby neighborhood. I counted three different law enforcement vehicles parked in the neighborhood when I picked up “Vanna” to take her to her brewery job. I mentioned to her how many cops lived around her and she laughed and said yeah, one of them is really young and has parties all the time. Oh, the things you can probably get away with when you wear a badge for a living.

It was a week of many first timers for me. “Tiffany” was a new rider who needed a Lyft from her job at a wireless phone company to her house way across town. Of course I greeted her with the usual sweets and we chatted about Lyft and how it was her first time since she usually takes Uber. She was impressed with selection of goodies in the backseat and mentioned that none of her Uber drivers ever do the same.

Later that same evening, “Delilah” had just finished up a paint night at one of the local watery holes in the southwest and had to get back to the east side of town. She explained that she had been looking forward to the night out with her girlfriends because she works as a nurse and recently had a baby, but that she had fallen a little ill during the evening so she left her friends a little earlier than anticipated. It was also her first Lyft ride. She was a little apprehensive about it but when she saw that she was getting a female driver on the app, she was extremely relieved. I told her a little about the service and how most drivers and pax are really super cool and she shouldn’t worry about too much. Delilah visibly relaxed and enjoyed a piece of gum as we made our way home.

“Bobby” and his buddy “Ryan” got a late evening start and were heading downtown for a few drinks. Bobby told me that he had received a DUI back in February and had hired my former employer to represent him. My jaw dropped when I heard how much the retainer was. It’s definitely gone up since I last worked there. Bobby was positive that any price he had to pay to keep the DUI off his record would be worth it. I only hope it works out that way for him.

There were several more pax throughout the week, some of which were regulars like Artie, Jax, and Fredo, but most were pretty uneventful. Until the first Friday night after bar closing.

“Tony” requested from an alley downtown after 2:00 a.m. I was able to find him relatively easily and he had three other with him. When I pulled up, a woman opened my back door and said that Tony, her husband, would sit in front and she and another couple piled in the back. I asked where they had been partying during the night and Tony said he was at a couple bars and that the other three had walked to a few more than he did but they were ready to call it a night.

At first their conversation didn’t seem out of the ordinary as we first headed to drop off the other female in the backseat. It wasn’t until half way through the ride that I realized the man and woman in the backseat weren’t actually a couple because the guy was gay. Once we got to her house, she stepped out of the car and pulled the gay guy out with her and stood by my car talking to him for a few minutes. Tony’s wife rhetorically asked what they were doing since the gay guy (I didn’t get his name) was going home with them and they were ready to go to bed. Tony rolled down his window and asked if the other guy was ready. The girl turned to him and said, “Yeah, just give us a minute,” and continued talking to the gay guy.

Once he got back in the car I got the whole story. A night of drinking and hanging out downtown with friends turned into drunk girl dramarama. The gay guy said that the drunk girl used the “F” word as they were walking to another bar and he called her out on it. Well, that didn’t go over well with her and the drunk girl started crying and yelling “Why do you hate me?!” Seems like a typical drunken overreaction. When Tony’s wife tried to calm her down, she pulled away screaming “Don’t touch me!” which caused people around to look at the three of them and ask the drunk girl if the other two were bothering her. Tony’s wife and the gay guy were floored because their drunk friend was acting so irrational and they looked like the bad guys to everyone else.

As they told the story, I looked at Tony who was positively bored and I said to him “Sounds like typical drunk girl drama.”

“That’s exactly what it is.” He concurred.

Tony explained that he was at another bar and hadn’t gone with them and was glad because he probably would have gone home earlier.

Drunk girls. Can’t calm them down, can’t stop hanging out with them. Despite the drama, Tony was an extremely generous tipper.

That about wraps up the first week of August. I’m trying to make a concerted effort to post more frequently, even if the posts are much shorter. I’ll be back with more interesting rides from August as soon as possible, but hopefully this will tide some of you voyeurs over until then.


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