DRIVE. SLEEP. REPEAT
He sat behind his desk in his big, wooden chair with the leather covering. Sometimes, he could not help but think back to how he started it all. It was not something that he did all by himself. Soon, he was lost in thought, reminiscing about the old times. He was a person that embraced anything that had to do with creativity, and he would often sit down for hours, trying his hands on so many things. His specialty was in the arts. He loved writing; it was second nature to him. One day, he got his hands on content creation, but without even been told by anyone, he knew it was all shit. It was useless and would not move his flat mate, let alone other people. He made great use of the internet. He had stuff ranging from tweets, most of them he now considers illegible; book ideas that moved no one and simple websites. There were other times, however; that he would create some stuff and people would commend him for a job well done. The important thing was that he never gave up on all those things. He went through the thick and thin with a positive outlook on events happening to him. Finally, he got something published.
It was not just like every other book. It became a bestseller, and he could boldly say that he was an author. It was like all his endeavors got rewarded with the sales. Soon, he had editors bearing down on him. Many of them were interested in working with him, and the doors of opportunities got opened for him. He had numerous choices to pick from, and he did. With wisdom and conferring with the right-minded people, he soon soared. He did not rest on his oars but got better. Daily, he created more desirous contents and his good stuff rose. Reviews from every corner were looking great. Now, looking back at those times, he knew he did not make a mistake. Presently, he is the Chief Executive Officer of a huge company with various branches in the different locations. He has business outlets in some of the busiest hubs, and he was making cool cash. He is doing excellently well, and the sky is the starting point. Thousands of people are working for him, and he is proud to say he has not had the cause to hold on to their salaries. His hard work had off handsomely at the end of it all.
Of course, he had the naysayers on his voyage to excellence. If he had listened to them, he would probably still be at the bottom. They were meant well in their intentions, but the options they asked him to take were not the best for him. He would remain forever grateful that he stood his ground and remained true to his hobbies. People often said that it is easier to ride the roughshod if it had to do with a passionate cause; it was a factual saying. He could only endure so much because he loved what he was doing. It was never about money. He only wanted to create things that people would like and need. Now, he has money to fully pursue what he wants which is to create many amazing things for people.
Another factor that helped him was that he never let go opportunities to work with people. He was ready to work with anyone as long as it went along with his passion. Soon, his name got out and became a household treasure. He did not have to look for people again; they reached out to him by themselves. He that was a Mr. Nobody soon became Mr. Someone. An average guy that he was, he soon rose to the top. He had his vision, visualized how it would be and never for once let go of its sight.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
So, I have heard so much about the Uber driving saga but never gave much attention to it. Many of my friends were using it, and according to them, they were earning "cool" cash. However, they could not persuade me to give it a trial no matter what they tried. I felt it was just crazy to have an app that would just connect drivers and passengers out of the blue. Steve would not let it go though; he is a friend of mine that would never stop talking about Uber. He has been an ardent user of Uber for over a year and had never ceased to give it good reviews. He would talk my head off every day. In the morning, noon and night, it was the same old persuasive story. So, I decided to download the application on my phone to get rid of his incessant disturbance but did not bother to make use of it.
Well, I eventually decided to give it a trial. I decided to run the application. It was easy though, unlike the thorough process a regular taxi driver would go through. All I needed to do was to upload some documents and give my history of course. I signed what was due and pronto! I was all set to activate my account. I had to go to an activation center to do that, but it was okay and smooth, free of hassles. Soon, I was ready to go. Trust, all I did was to keep it there without making any request.
It was a Friday night, and I had an early day off from work and was kind of less busy. I was not averse to making some extra cash and had enough time on my hands. As you probably guessed, I found the answer on my phone. Within some minutes, I landed the first call ever. I was skeptical about it, but there was no harm in trying. I went for it. It was a lady; guess I am just super lucky. She made my day, being so sweet and all. It was not the last call that I would answer anyway for that night. The calls kept on pouring in and would not stop. What more, I was having fun, I could not believe it! Unlike some people who had some hell of the time during their first time, it was hitch-free for me. The appreciation goes to Steve who did not mind talking my ears off just to persuade me. Eventually, I had to call it a night not because of any other thing, but I had to go to work you know. At 3 am, I dropped my last passenger and went home to rest.
I needed no further persuasion from Steve; I had the taste of the pudding and could not help going back for more. The life of an Uber driver I must tell you could be quite hilarious sometimes. As expected awkward things may happen, and while no one ever looks forward to a bad day, they are inevitable. I want to take out some time to share some of my experiences with you and hope that you will have some things to learn from them afterward.
Like I said earlier, I had no incident to make me regret signing up for an online job. It was a great experience, and I loved it. It was all fun for me. The next day was a Saturday, so it was an early day off from the job. Of course, like you are anticipating, I switched on the app immediately I got settled for real. The demands came rushing in; I was ecstatic. I picked up a request and was soon on my way out of the house. It went on this way, even on Sundays. I began wondering whether people stay in their homes at all. If they did, well, we would not get individuals to drive around. So, it is just as well. The first time I had an issue was when I had my neighbor, a male, in the car when I picked up a passenger. I did not give it much of a thought and was not expecting the reaction of the woman when she saw him. She all but plucked out my very eyes. She did not stop with the curses even after the poor man stepped out to avoid a row. I apologized till my mouth bled, but this passenger refused to budge. She was like a volcano ready to burst, and I was the unfortunate one to bear the brunt of it all. We were both glad to be rid of each other when the ride was finally over though. Without a hint of guilt, I gave her a rating of 1 as I do not wish to ever meet with her again. I am most sure that I would not fare well in her books too. I talked to Steve about it, and he gave me the number one rule: never to pick up a passenger with your friend or another person other than you in the car. Thank you very much; the message was passed across even if it was not nicely done. I learned it the hard way. Needless to say, the next time I went out to pick another passenger, I went alone. Even if my neighbor was going in the same direction, I made sure to drop him off before getting to my customer.
On another night when I went out to work, as I still had my day-to-day job going smoothly. I had this hilarious experience which could have been very annoying had it turned out otherwise. I picked up a couple from an address which turned out to be a bar. They were cooing all sweet nonsense behind me to each other, but it was not any of my business. I could manage with a little of cooing. From the gestures of the woman, I could decipher that she had taken too many drinks and was probably on the brink of passing out if care was not taken. I only prayed it did not happen in my car. By the way, they were almost at their destination. The man would not leave the woman too. He had his hands all over her, and I was almost telling them to stop when his partner ended the session herself. Like an overfed kid, she vomited all over the man. I was not pleased by the turn of events but of course, I was relieved when I discovered it ended with her partner and I got spared the trouble of cleaning trash from my car. The guy was speechless and the lady sobered up immediately, seeing the damage she had done. I was glad when I dropped them off. I drove a little distance away and parked my vehicle. I had to open the windows and doors to let out the stench of the vomit. It was then the phone that probably fell from the couple in their haste to go down started ringing. It belonged to the man. Funny, it was his wife that was calling. I drove the short distance back and saw the would-be-girlfriend now standing on the pavement. The misplaced phone had been discovered, and they were waiting for a return. She thanked me profusely and gave me a tip of $100. I swallowed whatever retort I had in mind and went back to my car. I only wished the wife had been around to see her husband covered in his mistress’s vomit.
ULTRA: DRIVE. SLEEP. PARTY. REPEAT.
As expected, the night trolls took their toll on me. I was working both day and night, and the body was no machine. What more, I was earning almost the same amount of the Uber driving as much as I was getting from my regular daily job. Thus, before I would drop dead from fatigue or get thrown off the job, I tendered my resignation and faced the driving properly. It came with its setbacks but had many benefits attached to it. Unlike in the times past, I had more time on my hands for other things. I could control how I spent my day and how I spent it. If I wanted, I could request for jobs, and if I had the urge to sleep, it was a matter of not going anywhere. The setback was that it was no longer a second income for me.
I must quickly say that the job quickly became a regular type. My goal every day was to have decent meals, drive, take a rest at the body demanded and of course party after all. It was just sometimes when I did not feel like partying that I took night jobs. I did not allow my night deals render me incapacitated for the day trips though. I retired as at when due so that I would be in the best shape for the next day.
During this phase of mine, I had lots of fun and some very annoying times too; it comes with the job. Now that it is the primary source of income that lasts for longer periods, I got more exposed to some things.
Ok. So, this particular day, I was very hopeful for a big deal just like the $100 tip I got. It would not be bad if I had that every day as long as no barfing stains my car. I picked up the request as usual, but it was kind of weird. It gave me a pause and made me wonder what went on in people’s minds behind the stoic expressions. When I got to where the passenger was assumed to be, it turned out that I was not going to drive a woman as the ID indicated but a teddy. I asked no questions of course. I simply picked up my strange passenger and dropped her off at the given address. During the ride, so many things went through my mind. What if the bear blows up in the car? In this age of terrorism and the rest; I scaled through the ride though and gladly handed over the bear to the recipient.
If not because I took up this type of job, I would never have discovered what I now know today and what seems so rampant. So many people are walking around with overdoses of estrogen and testosterone in their bodies. I have many circumstances of individuals hitting on me even in the shortest distance possible. It makes me wonder if they wanted to get laid or have a means of transportation. There was a particular incident that happened which was outstanding.
Contrary to what you might be thinking that I probably picked up the hippie type who did not mind getting laid or something, it was nothing of the sort. I got the request to transport a woman at of the busiest business areas in the city. I was in luck that day because I happened to be around the area. As an icing to top my cake, it was also the rush hour which translated to increased pay. I did not turn it down and could not even bring myself to do that if I wanted. Like every other time, I drove to the location and picked up the lady. She was dressed reasonably well in a suit and seemed to be in a hurry. She thrust the sheet containing the address at me, an area which I knew like the back of my palm and needed no tutoring to find. However, my passenger was in the mood to chat and did just that. She asked me questions about myself; even those I felt were personal and all. Once she sensed a hesitation, she would smile in a wolfish kind of manner that sent shivers down my spine.
Eventually, we got to the building with the house number, and it turned out to be a hotel. It was no big deal as she could have come for a business meeting or something of that nature. She certainly passed for someone like that based on her look. I had summed her up at first glance as someone whose driver went on a long errand she needed a fast transportation to somewhere else. How wrong I was! When we got there, she asked that I escort her to the room in the hotel. It was like I did not hear her well initially. Sensing my confusion, she made herself clearer by asking that I spend the entire afternoon and evening with her. Of course, there was a promise to pay me handsomely for my time. I was aghast. It is not the first time a woman would try to hit on me in the car, but I had never experienced one done with so much air of sophistication and authority. I gracefully declined, something that did not augur well with her. To make matters worse, she dug into her fancy purse and gave me a $50 note. I liked to have the money but not like that. Therefore, I rejected it again. When she discovered that nothing would make me follow her into her hotel room, she gave me a long, hard look and finally hissed before turning on her heels into the hotel. I heaved a sigh of relief that I was rid of her. When I checked my rating later on, I was surprised to see that she rated me 5. Why she decided to give me that value remains unclear to me till today. Nevertheless, I am not very sure that I would want to be joined with her again someday. Her style gave me the creeps. Other, non-innovative, everyday style makes me more comfortable, I think.
FANTASY FEST, LET'S GET OUR SURGE ON.
So, I continued living in this way without many variations per day. I think I was beginning to get bored but what kept me from leaving? Your guess is as good as your neighbor’s. Uber has a way of rewarding its best drivers which I think I must count as one. I did not tell you that I am a very dedicated worker. Once I get keyed into whatever is cooking, I found backing out of it a challenge. So, I got really into Uber. I hinted about the price surge while telling you about my meeting with the creepy woman in the business suit.
I do not like calling it that price surge. It makes it sound more like the riders are getting exploited or something of that nature. I like to think of it as the driver’s motivation and the rider’s way out. While many may not agree with me, it is a personal choice. So, “motivation” gets the drivers on the road when the demand of riders has gone up, and there is reduced the supply of drivers. In these periods, the fares will go up too sometimes to one and a half time the standard charge (1.5x). Surge often occur during special events, bad weathers, or other peculiar instances. The result is that the drivers get rewarded and stay motivated. On the other hand, only the passengers that are really in need of services get their requests sorted out fast. It is a win-win situation, and it makes sure that the system does not get overwhelmed. There are many approaches riders take to deal with such instances. Those that are in real need go ahead to make to ask for the services while others wait it out or go for other available means.
It does not mean that the drivers do not get their shares of stories too then. So, I am going to share this one. I am not a surge chaser, but once in a while when I get the opportunity, I grab it with my two hands and never let it go. This time, it was one of such times. It was a slow day; there were not many requests flowing in from the app. I decided to get some groceries before going home. I have formed a habit of checking my phone as often as possible just to see what was happening on the app. I almost jumped for excitement when I found out there was a surge not too far from where I was, and it was at 3.5. I was like whoopee! This “motivation” would serve its purpose. It would make up for the slowness of the day and get my juices flowing again. Thank heaven there was a lag in the grocery store, and I quickly paid for the purchases. Soon, I was on my way to the indicated area. By the time I got there, there was already another car there, and I was the second. The surge indicator did not come down regardless. It remained at 3.5, but soon we were three and kept increasing. Soon, we were ten, and at that time, the surge had gone down. However, nobody got pinged. Thus, we just patrolled for a while before eventually dispersing. I was not pleased though, but I consoled myself by finishing my shopping and treating myself to a nice dinner.
In another instance, it was on a Wednesday. I picked up an order to transport a man from the airport. It was one of those times there were passengers stuck at the airport, and there seemed to be a shortage of drivers in the area. When I got there, I discovered that he was elderly. They were my favorites. So far, I have not had any funny or otherwise encounter with this group. Therefore, I always looked forward to them. The man was extremely friendly during the journey until we got into the traffic. Then, he suddenly got impatient and began using his umbrella to hit my car! Thank goodness, we got to his destination in one piece with no one hurt and more importantly, none of my glasses shattered.
I mainly look forward to the New Year eve’s surge. That period usually feels like the motivation that the surge was meant to be; it went with the beautiful stories too. There was a time I picked up three ladies whose ages should not be lower than twenty-five, but with the way they giggled and whispered, one would assume they were sixteen-year-olds. They consistently nudged each other and laughed. I soon heard movements in the back seat and peeped through the mirror to see what was going on there. What I saw sent me facing the road quickly so that we would all not end up in a ditch. Not minding my presence, the ladies were changing their clothes. They showed me a lot of flesh much more than I was prepared to see. Such scenarios could send a man off to bed with some ungodly thoughts swirling through his mind. They completed their tasks quickly though, and the results were not bad too. They made my day though. I dropped them off at a bar, and they gave me some tip. Not that it was much, but they already gave me more than enough to feast on plus the surge.
THE UBERING MUST GO ON.
More than the fun, the freedom of my schedule and time on my hands and the money the job awarded me, I got something else. I got a chance to meet people from all walks of life. It provided an excellent platform for me to get some networking done. I met someone who influenced me in some way through Uber.
It was a rainy day, and as usual, in conditions like that, the surge was back. It was not a goose chase this time around, and I got a request to pick a man from a restaurant. It was at a good price too. He was a tall individual, and his dressing spoke of good times too. I have however learned not to judge anyone by their dressing though. So, this middle-aged man entered into the cab. It was all quiet for some time but one way or the other, we struck a chord with each other and started talking. At the end of the day, he gave me his card and issued an invitation for a set date. I dropped him off soon but did not make any final decision whether to honor it or not.
At the end of the day, I took the decision to see him. I planned to make it fast deal so that I would get back to work. I had no idea I was going to influenced so much than I could ever have imagined in my entire Uber life. I traced the address the man gave me and ended up at a skyscraper building. The card read the tenth floor, and I took an elevator there. On getting there, it turned out that I was expected and the receptionist took me to a room. On entering, I saw the man who gave me card sitting on a high chair in front. It was a reminiscence interview. People sat quietly, listening to what he had to say. I got shown to a seat and took it. According to Mr. Marcus, that was the man’s name; he developed his entire empire from scratch. I listened to him talk and made up my mind to go back to my favorite past time. I loved creating stuff for people to use. It startled me to think that Uber was born out of someone else’s creativity and I had become so dependent on it when I could do something of that nature, if not better.
I went home lost in thought that and earnestly began working. I did all these things during my time off. It was a relief that I now had control over my schedule. I told Steve about it, but he only laughed it off. According to him, working as the driver was enough and could I not be satisfied with that? Well, the definite answer to that was a no. I could not rely just on that after I met Marcus. As the case would be, the man gave me a lot of attention afterward. He became more like a mentor to me. I met him for pieces of advice when it seemed things were not going as projected and I was not discouraged. As a matter of fact, he gave me the very first idea that soared. Before that time, I would write some stuff and show them to Steve. It was always a no-no from him. Sometimes, I wondered if he was the same person that introduced me to Uber and would not stop disturbing me even when other friends that used the app had given up on me. He was not the only one though that opposed what I wanted to do. Some of my family members too did not agree with me. Gradually, I decided to stop telling them about it.
Okay, so I moved closer to Marcus and most of my free periods were with him. It was worth every bit of it. It did not mean though, that when I got some bad reviews, that they did not hurt. I only felt better because at least I had someone who believed in what I was doing and supported me all the way. Like I said earlier, the break I had came from him. He gave me an idea that got all the attention drawn to my website. It was something I would usually overlook, but when Marcus analyzed it, I got sold up for it and would not cease to point out to anyone that cared to listen that it was from him.
So, what was this idea that got me the attention? It was something that most people needed and would do anything to get. Just like the way Uber connects drivers to riders, Marcus pointed out that I could create an app that would connect blood donors and the recipients. Although at the time I wrote about it on my website, I had not yet created the app itself, but it was such a success. It served as the basis for the empire that I have now. It was just one out of the many other contents I would later on develop. It was writing that eventually made me a hit and had the editors crawling all over me.
Now, who says Uber should not go on? If not for the app, I would never have left my daily job that gave me little or no time to pursue other things that I found pleasurable. If not for it, I would not have mastered the art of organizing my day. Also, the credit goes to Uber for connecting me with such a great mind like Marcus who gave me the courage and also made way for the first and major break I had in my career. I learned a great deal from the chain of events that happened to me. Steve meant well for me. If he did not have great intentions for me, he would never have introduced me to Uber in the first place. My family members and other friends too did not want me to end up wasted, and this they showed in their ways. The only challenge was that they chose the negative end of the stick instead of seeing the brighter ways that things could eventually resolve. The primary lesson was that it is better to stick to your mind because sometimes, those people who care about you may be too scared for you to see the right road. In such instances, look within yourself and pick up on the source of strength available. It would go a long way to making things right. Do not always listen to naysayers; however, let them be the pointers to the right direction. On a final note, do not lose sight of any vision that you have.