I hardly take taxis or Ubers but this was one really odd ride I took with Uber.
We just had our paintball cohesion and were left stranded in this deserted place with unkept greens everywhere. Fortunately, with Uber, we are only a few clicks away and a knight in shining armour is on its way to us.
Within 10 mins, the car arrived. In my mind: Yes, I can now get home quickly to take a nap. (Little did I know it was gonna be quite a slow ride.)
The moment we entered the car, the driver donning a rather funky hairstyle, welcomed us. The sides of the car’s doors were packed with drinks and snacks, which he generously allowed us to consume as we pleased. Perhaps, in exchange, we were ushered into a rollercoaster conversation with him.
We were pushed around topics ranging from his modified iPhone to his ex-girlfriends and then from his experience in detention barracks to his current divorce case. Despite his constant shower of jokes, we felt uncomfortable by this sudden openness he gave us. He was saying a bunch of things that we wont reveal unless we were close friends.
Perhaps, it was just that we have never came across such a direct and open taxi driver or that we were just really uptight and treating things too seriously, but I think we were honestly weirded out by his willingness to share his life story with us.
What was more odd was that the driver wanted to help us save money in our trip. He dropped one of my friends first before dropping the rest of us. But only charged us for the nearer location and added an extra 5 bucks for the remaining distance. I am not sure if it was the cheaper alternative, but he really did go out of his way to help us.
Throughout the trip, he persistantly requested my friend to rate his service 5 stars. (But I guessed he deserved it, given the amount of effort he put into making our trip enjoyable. Even though a little overdosing…) I have never seen a driver so focused and preoccupied with the ratings given to him and the comments that his passengers have for him. I think he is a driver that sees Uber as more than just a money making tool but also an avenue to talk about his life problems and to seek fulfillment in his passengers’ delight. There is sometime admirable amidst this rather strange ride.
I think the nature of taxi rides is quite interesting. The passenger and the driver meet purely by affinity. Then, in the intimate space of the car, the two sometimes have no choice but to engage with each other. In this brief moment, they find out a little about each other, about their principles, family background and thoughts. This transient relationship between the two can be potentially poetic.
Back to the trip itself, I find it sad that we were odded out by his kindness and openness. Why cant we be this kind and open to everyone else around us? Should we? The affinity we share with a taxi driver, is that enough?