The sun had long set on the City of Angels, but I wasn’t done for the day. I had to keep moving. Too much nervous energy. So, after my nine-to-five grind, I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement for a few miles, then a quick cool-down swim at Belmont Plaza before starting my Uber shift. It was a hot summer night, and the pavement was still burning underneath my feet as I pounded it with my Nike sneakers, even after the swim.
On this particular night, I was in a rush. I was yet to go home and change out of my Speedo. As I just jumped in my car, I fired up the app like usual and got that usual spike of dopamine while forgetting about my current state of mind and attire. All of a sudden, I was on the hunt for a fare, and just like that, I got a good request, with not a moment to spare.
In the blink of an eye, I got a ping at the local airport. The snooty, older pair, looked down their noses at me while sweat and disdain oozed from every pore. But I was a pro, a real upright people person. I had the AC turned on, my favorite Yacht Rock station on Spotify. I greeted them with a smile and a helping hand for their luggage.
As we hit the road, I kept up the pleasantries, even offering the hoity-toity couple bottled water. But they weren’t having it. They made snide comments, nitpicked about the smell, and generally acted like I was beneath them. Then they had the audacity to complain that my car had a funk about it. I had just shampooed the interior a week earlier and hung a few of those $0.99 trees from the mirror, so I knew it was all BS. Black Ice, Island Paradise, and Pina Colada, to be precise.
When we finally arrived at their destination, the man had the audacity to question my attire. He wanted to know if Uber was aware of my Speedo-sporting ways. I told him that I was an independent contractor and that I could dress as I damn well pleased. I helped them with their bags and watched them go, thinking the ride had gone well enough.
Five minutes later, the stars fell from the sky. My rating plummeted from four stars to three. I was shocked. I got a warning from Uber about “unprofessionalism.” I couldn’t believe it. This was total BS. I tried to complain, but I got back an obvious canned response.
And so, I threw on some shorts from my bag, continuing on my quest, driving through the sultry city streets of the city I love, the City of Angels, eyes fixed firmly on the road ahead. I am a man with a purpose and a singular focus. I am a rideshare driver and would do whatever it took to get those five-star ratings.
Should I be worried about my rating? I just started with Uber, and my rating is already in the toilet. I can’t afford to have these snobs ruining my reputation. I wonder if there’s anyone I can talk to up top to set the record straight and get my stars back where they belong?