As worldwide travelers who live three and a half hours away from Silicon Valley, my boyfriend and I finally decided that it was time to try out Uber. I created Uber and Lyft accounts but have never used them, and follow the news on Uber’s practices, driver experiences, and have seen firsthand the ever-evolving global clash of taxi drivers in Indonesia and Tijuana. As a freelance writer, I’ve even thought about becoming an Uber driver to make some extra cash, but had to experience being a passenger first.
On April 21, 2016, my boyfriend and I flew back to the San Francisco Airport from Costa Rica. After a full day of travelling, we arrived back to our home country a bit after midnight. Since we weren’t sure about how late the BART ran, we decided to try out Uber. An average fare looked to be about $20 compared to a potential $65 cab ride.
Within seconds I was able to call over a driver, who I could see was driving a white Nissan Altura. I approached two different white Nissans who ended up being Lyft operators. One offered to give us a ride anyways, but we stuck with Uber.
After a quick phone conversation to verify locations, our nice driver named Ben showed up with a guy and a girl already Ubering in the backseat. The guy moved into the middle and I took the far right side. My boyfriend sat up front.
The passenger in the middle was totally crowding me with both of his legs thrown over onto my side. And then, with no more than two minutes into the ride, the guy puked on me!
He vomited between his legs what looked to be a full upchucked pizza, while splashing puke up on my shoes, my bag and all over the floor. Squeezed up against the door hanging my head out the window like a dog to lessen the smell, the drunk guy next to me said that it happened because of the long drive (he came from Palo Alto). He showed absolutely no remorse as he fell asleep leaned up against me.
I could’ve punched that guy for being so rude and not giving a head’s up that he was sick. I not only felt bad for myself but for the driver, who now has to clean off puke all over the back of his car. I have heard that Uber is very adamant about the quality of its drivers, but what about the responsibility of its passengers??? My inclinations of ever wanting to become an Uber driver are now finished. If anything, I might look more into that “Chariots for Women” service (except that I had my boyfriend with me so maybe that wouldn’t have worked).
About my boyfriend- he thinks it’s hilarious that I got puked on. He says I’m being too dramatic and that way worse things probably happen in Ubers. But I never would’ve thought that after coming off of a six-hour international flight, I would end up doing laundry in the hotel bathroom sink as the result of a 15-minute Uber ride.
After the ride, I scurried out of the car and was immediately charged $20 followed by an email that stated “Congratulations on your first Uber ride!” But maybe next time I’ll stick to the BART.