I’d considered it for a while, because I wanted to test an idea I had for a TV series - “Taxi Cab Confessionals” set in an Uber. When this guy launched his podcast of similar concept, well… I felt like I’d missed out on my own next big idea.
When I signed up, Uber offered an incentive: give twenty rides in a few days and it will pay you $200.
As someone (obsessively) goal oriented, I naturally obsessed with hitting that mark. It was like my Uber app became a money-making Pokemon game – very addictive!
Quickly I learned some riders are Evees, others Magikarps and they all result in a payout (somewhere between $4 and $60).
Here’s a quick overview of who I've driven:
- First rider – a neighbor I’d never met, three houses down. I considered swapping numbers for future crawfish boils... but is that weird?
- An Australian guitarist in the band Jarryd James who was in Atlanta to play at Center Stage
- Two members of the Mexican Consulate
- An alleged cousin of Ric Ross on her way to his party
- A blue haired sci-fi superfan from Las Vegas going to DragonCon who got NCW’s autograph made permanent into a tattoo
- Someone who really didn’t like me… I received one mysterious “1 star” rating (most have been fives).
Of course there are a lot of drunk people. A lot.
There was the couple awkwardly making out as I drove them, stopping to ask me to change the radio to fit the mood (I gave that rider a one star). There was the guy who suggested I go with him to the Oasis strip club (because it’s cheap – btw, no way!) And there was the girl sending out "vibes of prosperity and peace" to me while on her way to dance off a bad day at work (I liked her).
I overhear all sorts of things - and I love it! People talk, talk, talk about themselves (or say nothing at all), and they rarely ask anything about me. It’s eavesdropping at its finest.
So... I listen.
I’m not sure how long I’ll continue this social experience – or if I’ll rig up GoPros in my car for that series idea. But next time you ride in an Uber be nice – you never know who is listening in from the driver’s seat!