Why Do I Use Uber?

I use Uber for many reasons. In fact I often have to convince people that I’m not crazy for getting in a person’s private vehicle and letting them drive me places. Of the 50 or so times I’ve used Uber I’ve only had even one blip on the radar, and that was a marginal blip at that. I had a driver that seemed less experienced at driving in the snow than I might have preferred. What I have NEVER had happen while riding in an Uber is any of these things which have happened while I’ve been in cabs:

1) A driver who did not even say hello when I got in the car

2) A driver who had headphones in their ears who said nothing to me for the entire ride

3) A car that was filthy

4) A car that had a foul odor

5) A driver who said “That’s all…” when I paid them

6) A driver who talked loudly on the phone

Now to be fair I’ve had many wonderful cab drivers too. I don’t mean to throw all of them under the bus because that would be unfair. Let’s just say that using the law of averages, I’ve had way more bad cab experiences in an equal number sample than I have had bad Uber experiences. Last Wednesday I had what is probably my most offensive cab experience ever.

I took a short ride from Michigan Avenue at Ohio down to Michigan Avenue at Randolph. I take this ride once every two weeks when I go from Joe’s to my therapist’s office. The fare is almost always $4.15. Usually I give the driver a $5 bill and a single. Last Wednesday I only had a few twenties, a $50, a pocket full of credit cards and some receipts. When I reached my destination I handed the driver a $20 bill and said, “Just give me $14 back please…”

His response was, “Don’t you have a small bill? This is s short ride…” I told him that I did not have a smaller bill but I could use a credit card if he preferred. He made eye contact with me for about three to four seconds in the rear view mirror and then he started to count out $14 from his pocket to make my change. Before he handed me my change though he said, “You have a smaller bill in you pocket you just don’t want to give it to me.”

Seriously? I was stunned. I reached into my pocket and held out my hand to show him that I had three $20 bills, a few singles, a $50 bill, a bunch of credit cards and a some papers. Now I don’t usually get involved in these I’m going to show you/fix you games with people I randomly encounter on the streets, but for some reason this guy struck a nerve. I then said to him, “The next time you want to tell one of your customers that you have a better idea of what they have in their pocket than they do you might want to think twice before you say anything. By saying something you are passing a value judgement on them and you are being unkind…”

He said nothing. I still waited for my change. As he passed the change over his right shoulder without even turning to look at me he then added, “You have a $10 bill. I saw you take it from the man you were talking to on the street right before you got in my cab after you paid him…” At first I once again thought Seriously? You want to push this thing even further? Did you not hear what I said just 3o seconds ago about value judgement! Then I realized what he thought he saw on the street before I got in his cab…

Right before I got in the cab I was approached by a street canvasser who was working for HRC – The Human Rights Campaign. He had asked me if I had five minutes to talk about gay rights. I told him that I didn’t because I had to run to my therapy appointment, but I unnamed-8thanked him for doing the important work he was doing. He asked if he could add me to their email list. I said “Sure” and I handed him my business card. He then handed me a square sticker with the familiar two bar logo.

What the cab driver thought he saw was me giving the street canvasser a $20 bill and he assumed I got one bill as change and that bill was a a $10 bill. I sat in the back of the cab fluctuating between disbelief and rage. I reached in my back pack and pulled out the sticker, held it forward towards the cab driver and said this, “So you think that guy gave me a $10 bill? Actually what he gave me was this. It’s s sticker with the logo for The Human Rights Campaign. That guy is working the streets as a volunteer for gay rights NOT passing value judgements on anybody. At the same time you’re sitting in you cab telling me what you think I have in my pockets! Do me one favor if you can? Remember this moment the next time you want to correct someone (Twice!) in a situation that doesn’t require or desire your input…”

The cab driver made eye contact with me in the mirror again. He said nothing. I got out of the cab and went on to my appointment. It took me a minute to shake off the bad vibes of the experience, but then I remembered two words my friend Gregg Sanderson uses when he’s teaching The Science of Happiness from The Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes. “It’s okay……”

It’s okay that I prefer Uber

It’s okay that some people think I’m making a bad choice

It’s okay that I didn’t have time to talk to the nice man working for HRC

It’s okay that I got this one really bad cab driver

It’s okay that I can’t fix him or change his opinions

It’s okay that I got angry about what he said to me

It’s also okay that I originally referenced the wrong author on The Science of Happiness

In the end none of this stuff really even matters. Not even this blog post. And that’s okay too…



About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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4 Responses to Why Do I Use Uber?

  1. And it’s OK if you think the Science of Happiness, from the Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes, is like what Stefan Klein teaches. It’s close enough and there’s plenty of happiness to go around. 🙂

    I don’t think Ken Keyes would mind, either, even though Stefan Klein was not yet 10 years old when Ken coined the term as a more “earthly” description of his system, (which he also called “Living Love”). 😉

    … and I’m delighted that you got such value from it. Yay, Jim!

  2. Barry says:

    I admire the way you didn’t let him off the hook, and yet you remained reasonable. The way you processed this interaction helped the cab driver, helped yourself, and helped anyone reading this blog. Thanks, Jim.

  3. Diane Onixt says:

    I know this is late-I don’t blame you for using Uber. When I see you I will tell you why………Diane

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