G’day All my name is Paul and I’m an archaeologist by trade, but after losing my job I became an Uber driver. It has certainly been one of the most surprising and hilarious experiences of my life. As an archaeologist you work with a multitude of people, from traditional owners, government organizations, clients who want to build roads, house or utility lines. Now I’m an Uber driver I had no idea who would set foot in my vehicle.
I started Ubering as I like to call in June 2019. Not that long ago and I have encountered so many different, quirky, and hilarious people. The day before I started Ubering my car had to be ready, so before I go into the incredible tales of people, I have to go through the ins and outs of what I needed to do before I started Ubering.
First things first, I had to see if my car could be used to Uber people around. After a quick search on the Uber website, I found the closest biggish location my current residence, Bellingham. My car is only 7 years old and the cutoff is 15 years. Awesome. Now I had to book in to see if my car was ready. As in making sure it was road worthy and passenger worthy. I dropped it off at Midas in Bellingham and boom, half an hour she was ready to go. I drive a Black Mitsubishi Gallant 2011 GE model. Once passing, I sent the filled out form to Uber and then I waited a week, when boom I’m approved to drive passengers and drop off food.
I cleaned my car inside and out. Then placed water and an American candy called Hi Chews in my car. Anywhere there was a cup holder I filled it with deliciousness. My first Uber experience was in San Diego in 2015. The man had Mentos and water bottles in clean readily available locations. My thoughts at the time were. “If I drove Uber, I’ll do the same”. Never thought I would, but a former colleague at work did it as a side hustle instead of archaeology. His horror story was cleaning up pee from a child that sat in his car. Thought to myself that’s gross, but still he very rarely had complaints.
Then came my first day. I hung out by the airport in Bellingham, where I joined a virtual queue. It’s an arbitrary bubble in which you have to park your car. If you drive out of this area, you will lose your place in the queue. Proximity to airport does not matter unless you arrive at the exact same time as someone else.
Then my first customer Pinged me. My App went off and I accepted the ride. It wasn’t at the airport, but it was close enough. Pretty sure I had Jeff Goldblum grace my car. He said his name was Shane, but he sounded and even acted like the man. I refrained from saying anything, just in case I offended him. He appreciated my hospitality and gave me 5 stars! As soon as had dropped him off, I knew this was going to be an intriguing journey.
So how’s this for a fun Uber Story. An Australian goes to pick up a British gentleman at the airport who wants to Uber to Canada in a Japanese car in America. Yep that’s right my second customer wanted me to pick him up from the airport and drive him to Vancouver. Unfortunately I couldn’t take him. Didn’t have my passport of an updated travel parole permit. Yes waiting for your Green Card makes life difficult. Right now I have an Employment Authorization Document, which enables me to work anywhere in the USA, without immigration chucking a tanty and deporting me. Tanty means tantrum. However my travel parole permit is only a one time use only document according to border patrol or a multiple use permit according to USCIS. Yep how good is that ladies, gentlemen, and other genders? One government department doesn’t talk to the other. Who knew? Thinking America has a bigger problem than just illegals. Could be the bureaucratic nonsense that is immigration. There are at least 8 forms of government dealing with immigration. Anyway back to Uber. After the British guy, I had a few other customers, that weren’t really worth mentioning. Just normal people. Until the next day.