Uber Tales – Above and Beyond, Part I

I have been a frequent taxi rider for 15 years. In my twice-a-day rides, I have met countless of taxi drivers whose taxi tales are interesting enough to merit retelling. I have written about The Lucky One, Basta Driver, Sweet Lover, The Good Ones, The Unlucky One, The Naughty One, The Helpful One, The Talkative One, The XXX One (Words Fail Me), and The Proud One. 

In the last 11 rides I have taken, six of which have been with the use of Uber vehicles. I can say that once one has turned into Uber vehicles, one cannot go back to hailing taxis. Uber cars are newer, smell cleaner and fresher, more spacious and although I do not necessarily care about sounds because I would rather listen to news, have drivers with better taste in music. The drivers are also more polite, good conversationalists and dare I say, good looking. I know that my sample size for that last part is small and is not statistically reliable, yet I still stand by it. 🙂

Of the six Uber drivers I have encountered, one stands out. We started off on he wrong foot because he waited for me in the wrong building, which made me wait under the blazing sun for a total of six minutes. He profusely apologized once he located me (he walked to where I was and we walked together to his car), but I told him right away that it was okay. I needed whatever Vitamin D3 that came with the skin cancer-inducing rays anyway. At 246pm.

 

This is a photo of an Uber driver but not the driver in the story. This one was also very nice and well-mannered.

In our eight minutes of conversation, he told me that he was a heavy equipment operator for Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). He was assigned in Bicol for the most part and because of the distance he was not able to see his family who lives in Cavite. After 22 years of maneuvering backhoes for the government, he decided to retire. He used part of his retirement benefits to buy the Hyundai Accent he was driving. He has been an Uber driver for two months. He said that he drives the car everyday until he gets his daily target income of P1000.00 ($20.00). Now, he sees his family every weekend.

His car smells of air freshener without being overbearingly assaulting to the nose. The air conditioner was a welcome relief from the unforgiving Metro Manila heat. What caught my eye was the plastic container between the front seats. It has four packs of crackers and several candies. I asked him if he was selling them (I met a taxi driver or two who sold food in their taxis. One of them was even featured on a TV show). He told me that they were for the passengers, and I was free to get any or all of them. 🙂 I politely declined but asked him if I could take a photo of the container. He nodded yes.

The plastic container with crackers and candies whose contents the Uber driver offers to his passengers for free.

Later, he pointed out that he had wet wipes in addition to the two alcohol bottles beside the plastic container. I told him about a story where I had to wade through knee-high black Metro Manila floodwater and once I successfully arrived on higher ground, mercifully there was a taxi whose passenger just alighted from it. I immediately ran to the still open door and begged (to the point of crying) the driver to take me to Quezon City. He agreed. After I settled inside the vehicle, the first question I asked him was, “kuya, may alcohol ho kayo?” He had none. I had to shower thrice when I got home. I told the Uber driver that having alcohol in the car is important especially if his passengers are irresponsible like me.

As we neared our destination, I heard my stomach growl. I asked the driver if I could get one pack of crackers. He told me to take them all with me. I got just one. When I paid him, he said it was too much. I told him it was for the crackers.

He had a rating of 4.9 stars. I gave him five stars and chose the “Above and Beyond” in the comment section. Beneath that is a part where one can send a note to the driver, I decided not to send a message because he might think I am stalking him.

For another #Uberstories, please read Uber Tales – Above and Beyond, Part II.

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