I spend a lot of unhappy hours in my car throughout the week. People are annoying, traffic is terrible, and it’s tedious to always be worried if you’re going to make enough money to survive, without getting into an accident.
From time to time, I’ll get a request where the person wants me to deliver an item rather than give someone a ride somewhere. They always frame it as “Hey! This is a real treat! You don’t have to deal with people!” What they don’t realize is that I am aware of how much more expensive a messenger service is.
But hey, a ride is a ride. Knowing that it is against the terms of service, I’m willing to do their bidding under two conditions: 1) I get to act really dramatic like it’s really putting me out while they explain it, and 2) there absolutely has to be a person standing outside at the receiving address, because I’m not driving around looking for parking for a “Thanks so much!”. It’s the one of the reasons why I don’t do Postmates or any food delivery. It’s not that I’m above food service, it’s just that I am.
So one day, I’m all the way on the West side of town on a Friday afternoon. To get back East would take well over an hour, so I rolled the dice and hoped I would get something in that direction. Miracle of miracles, I did! Because everything is terrible, it was an UberPool trip, which means it’s going to take 17 hours instead of 1. No worries, I’ve only been on the road for 10 hours already.
When I showed up at this guy’s house, who we’ll call Glen, he took a while to come out. As a driver, when someone orders a cheap pool trip, I pull no punches. I won’t do a U-turn to get to them, I don’t answer when they call, and I definitely cancel after exactly two minutes. Glen waves at me from his place and I pretend not to see him, and he comes over to the driver’s side window. I motion for old Glen to sit in the back, but Glen comes over to the front passenger side window and motions for me to roll down the window. I can see he’s got a huge ziplock bag with many smaller ziplock bags in it, and they’ve all got something in them. Oh, Glen.
I roll down the window and confirm his name, and he says, “Yeah, that’s me. I’m not coming. You’re gonna take these to a testing facility on the East side.” Oh, am I, Glen? Am I really?
I am always blown away at the inconsiderate and entitled nature of this abuse of service, but to do it in an UberPool, where this trip normally is an hour? How fucking cheap can you be? Also, what in the fuck am I transporting? Is my life about to become a reboot of Orange Is The New Black? I am way too fragile for prison, so if I’m going, it’s because I murdered my roommate. Not because I was an inadvertent drug mule for a cheap Westsider named Glen. GLEN, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
I asked if there would be someone outside at the testing facility, considering that for starters, I don’t want to get out of the car and waste my own time, but when you do that in a pool, it inconveniences everyone else in the car who has also paid for a trip.
Also, lest we forget, I don’t even get a percentage of what this guy pays. I get a flat, shitty mileage rate. $0.57 a mile on Pool trips. Why the fuck am I bending over backwards for old Glen?
Nobody would be at the receiving end waiting. Do you think he cared? No. Do you think I felt like risking my job if he wanted to complain to Uber? No. Do you think I was in a good mood for the next hour?
I realized I could just turn off the app and take the longest-mile route on the way home, maximizing what I get paid for the trip, and avoid the hassle of picking up more people. This is actually kind of a nice ending to the week. Winding down stress-free. But it wasn’t smooth sailing just yet. I put on my favorite podcast and rolled down the windows, hopped on the freeway and immediately sat in gridlock Friday afternoon traffic.
As I’m sitting there, curiosity got the best of me. What was in that bag? I grabbed the big ziplock bag as I sat in a sea of brake lights, and looked more closely at the little bags inside of it. I see that they all have little clear vials in them, with red liquid sloshing around. They were all labelled with different peoples’ names on them, a few alphanumeric codes, and the words “BLOOD SAMPLE.”
Too late to turn back now, I suppose. What was I going to do, drive back to his place, throw a bunch of blood at him, and end the trip? By this point he would’ve been charged something, which means he can rate me as a driver, and file a complaint. And if you don’t know, Uber would do anything to not lose a customer. Even a terribly cheap one like good ol’ Glen.
So what could I do but pull out my hand sanitizer, drive for what felt like months, and enjoy the most recent episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! When I finally arrived at the facility, there was nobody outside.
I parked the car and got out, huffing and puffing the whole way. I almost wish I could’ve watched this on tv, because it surely must’ve been a fun sight if you had no emotional investment in it.
I went in and saw two receptionist desks, both with employees that had no sense of urgency to greet me. In the most distant, irritated demeanor I could muster up, I said “Hi, I’m delivering these for Glen.”
“Your guess is as good as mine. I’m an Uber driver, and he was too cheap to order an actual delivery service. But he insinuated that you guys would be expecting his delivery, sooo…. Here’s some blood from Glen.”
“Um, ok. Thanks?”
I got back in the car and went home, took a few baths in bleach, cursed humanity and hit up a bar with some friends. After so many unhappy hours… It was finally happy hour.