How a bad Lyft ride almost ruined my life ….
Okay, the proverbial cat is out of the bag. For the last year or so, I have occasionally driven for Lyft. Driving relaxes me. I drive a lot. If a destination is less than 500 miles, I prefer to drive it. It gives me a chance to clear my head, practice languages (Mandarin and Spanish), listen to audio books and just decompress. In addition, I like having conversations with people, so, Lyft seemed like a perfect getaway for me. I could drive around when I needed to relax, talk to people and have them pay for my gas.
How I came to drive for Lyft was through a conversation with a “well to do” friend of mine. He told me that he drove for Lyft. He obviously didn’t do it for the money. He told me did it because of the experiences and because of the people that he meets. When I looked into driving, Lyft was offering a pretty decent 1-month bonus. I had a business trip coming up in a few weeks and I was also planning on taking my kids on a trip that included roller coasters and theme parks. I decided to give it a shot and I would split the bonus between the two trips.
“I’m only going to drive for one month,” I told myself. As I started driving, I found that my friend was right, I had a lot of fun doing it. So I kept doing it whenever I was in town and whenever I needed to relax. Driving relaxes me and talking to people is fun. I was getting all sorts of ideas from the people I spoke with, so I decided to keep doing it.
After this week, I probably am not going to be driving for Lyft anymore, though. The biggest reason is, my schedule really is way too busy and I just don’t have the time for it. I’d rather spend my free time with my family. My kids are involved with EVERYTHING right now. Driving them around to basketball, swimming, music lessons, Taekwondo, T-Ball and Acting Class is a full time job by itself!
The other reason I am most likely done driving for Lyft is…I almost had to punch a guy in the face and put him in the hospital!
I’m sure that all of you that drive for any ride share service constantly get asked the question: “What’s your worst driving story?” Or, “Has anyone ever thrown up in your car?” For the most part, I had always had positive experiences. When passengers would ask me those questions, I would say to them that, “…being a 6 foot 3, 215 lbs black male has its advantages in situations like this.” And, they would always laugh and agree. J
I would always opt to tell people about the middle-aged Filipino group of friends that were singing eighties and nineties R&B and hip hop. They sang at the top of their lungs from the time they got in my car to the time they left. It was an awesome because, for the most part they saying on-key!
No one ever threw up in my car. I did have to pull over on the side of the freeway a couple of times for people, but no one ever did it in the car. I had a couple of occasions where drunk guys passed out or went to sleep and I couldn’t wake them up. There was also the time I had to help a lady into her house because she was so drunk she couldn’t stand up. She passed out 3 times, in the middle of the street, in front of her door and when she opened the door; It was bad…and 3 Stooges funny at the same time. But, that was the worst thing that I had to deal with…until a couple of days ago.
Are you ready for this doozy of a story? On Sunday evening, a time in which I NEVER drive, I went to pick up a guy from a bar…doesn’t that sound funny..? I digress…I pressed the button on the Lyft app to alert him that I was at the destination he put. I waited in front of the bar for five minutes and he hadn’t shown up, so I called…no answer. I sent a text…no response. So, I canceled the ride.
I was going to be on my way home because I had other stuff to do and I wanted to hang out with my family. I started driving away from the bar, but for some odd reason, I decided to turn onto the next street over. I parked for a second so I could send a text really quick. To my surprise, while I’m sending the text, I see a lady out of the corner of my eye walking toward me. “Hey, are you a Lyft driver?” she asked. I told her yes, but I don’t have a ride at the moment. 15 seconds later, I get a ride request (I had forgotten to turn off my app) and the ride request was from the same guy that was supposed to be at the bar. And, sure enough, he was with the lady that had just asked me the Lyft driver question. They both start walking toward the car to get in.
Now, I meant to turn off my app. But I decided, what the heck, I’ll take them home and then go home after dropping them off. They only lived a couple of miles away from my house anyway.
I like to joke with people when they get in my car. After all, that’s one of the reasons why drive, for the experience and for the social interaction. Well, they get in the car and immediately start complaining, so I know that this is going to be a long ride.
“Dude, we were over here!” he says to me upon getting in the car. It was very obvious that they both really drunk. I tell him, “I’m sorry, your dot on the screen had you at the bar across the other side of the street.” “Obviously, we were here,” he retorts. So this ride was getting off to a great start.
I told them that I tried to call and text. They then tell me that someone else’s voicemail is attached to their account. I tell them that they can contact Lyft support. They tell me that they have better things to do with their time…At that point I decided that I was just going to get them home and not talk much. Again, they were only a couple of miles away from my house, so I can handle the short period of time we’ll be together.
I’m making a turn, on the street that the GPS is suggesting we turn on, and the guy yells out, “Dude where are you going you need to go to the freeway!” I calmly ask him, “Which freeway are you referring to?” I say this because, we were nowhere near a freeway. His wife then chimes in, “Honey you’re thinking about the other downtown. We went to a different downtown, remember?”
That let me know that he was really “really” drunk. Keep this fact in mind as, it will come back into play later…
Anyone that knows me knows, I am very easy to get along with. I can get along with most anyone. Many of my friends have told me that I would be comfortable at a Klan rally as long as I had on the uniform, lol. The point being, I can hang in most any Circle.
There are several types of people that I really and truly don’t get along with. One is lazy people, another is self-entitled people who try to demand respect from people without giving it or earning it first. I can’t stand those people. We Clash and we clash, hard; this couple was hitting the trifecta.
They (couple) were in my car talking about being at the bar and seeing some sort of fight they helped instigate, talking about threesomes and all kind of other stuff…I’m just trying to stay out of it because they’ve already rubbed me the wrong way.
Meanwhile, the wife is going in and out of consciousness because she’s really drunk, too. One minute, she’s in the back screaming and yelling, going back and forth with her husband, (in a playful way, I’ll admit). And, the next minute, she’d fall asleep or pass out. THEN…she’d wake up and say “Where are we?” just like her husband had done. She had forgotten where she was, that fast. Yes, it was that kind of ride.
I am now less than 3 miles from their house (thank you, Jesus) and we are on the street where the GPS is telling me to be on. My GPS has been very visible on my dashboard for the entire ride up to now…it’s now telling me that I have to make a left turn in a ½ mile…yay!
I kid you not, I am now .2 miles away from making the LEFT TURN, I am in the LEFT LANE, my LEFT TURN SIGNAL is on, signaling that I am about to make THIS LEFT… Again, my GPS is on my dash and, if you’re in the car you can plainly see it. You are able to see it for the entire trip, I make sure of it.
I am .2 miles away from the turn and this guy yells out, “Dude, you’re going to have to make a LEFT at some point!”
I am in somewhat of a state of disbelief. I look in my mirror toward him. Say what? For some reason, the way he said it DID NOT sit well with me. So, I look in the rear view mirror and I ask, “Were you talking to me?” “Yeah I am,” he replied. “You’re going to have to make a LEFT at some point dude,” he repeats.
Let me write it for you guys again…HE’S BEEN ABLE TO SEE MY GPS FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP. Before this, he never once said that he wanted to make a left turn, before “this” left turn. My turn signal is already on. I am already about to make the left turn. And he still feels he needs to yell at me and say something.
I am still calm, believe it or not. I say to him “As you can see, I am making a left turn on the street that the GPS is suggesting.” He then yells at me again. “Dude, don’t talk back to me! I know where I live!” – Strike One.
I say to him, “Do you not see the GPS on my dash? Have you not seen it for the entire ride? if you wanted to make a different left other than the left we are making now, you could have said it and I would have happily went that way.” He retorts back, “I know where I live and I don’t need you talking back to me or telling me where to go. I know where I’m going, don’t get snippy with me!”
– Strike Two.
Then, the wife chimes in, “How dare you talk back to us! You’re rude, I’m going to give you a bad rating!” “How am I rude?” I ask. “Why are you still talking?” the husband replies. – Strike Three.
So, I pull off on the side of the road and I put my car in park. At this point, I’ve had enough. “Please, get out of my car,” I say.
That’s when things REALLY GET GOOD…
But, you’ll have to wait until next week to find out what happened…So, until next time…
Larry Tank Jones is an actor, producer, philanthropist, and motivational speaker that loves to push himself and others to be the best they can be.
He has acted in dozens of movies, the most notable being “Three Kings,” and has appeared in several television shows, including NCIS, CSI: Miami, Breaking Bad and more. He has a leading role in the historical film, Union Bound, which is set to be released in April.
Tank Jones is also a producer, he is currently producing the series Fire and Ice, and is the co-producer of the very successful Latin Comedy Jam comedy tour.
In addition to his film career, Tank is a motivational speaker who has traveled the country speaking on behalf of his nonprofit organization, Choices Empowerment. Choices Empowerment was founded in 2003 to promote diversity and to help encourage elementary, middle and high school students to have a positive outlook toward themselves and their goals.