Signing up to work with a ride service entails driving some of the most random people out there. There's no telling how awful or strange these people are going to be, not to mention the shady stuff they've gotten into. These drivers got involved in some truly frightening and outlandish experiences, ones that made many of them to quit their driving jobs forever. Content has been edited for clarity.
Nothing Could Prepare Her
“So I had been picking up and dropping people off around downtown Fullerton for a bit, when I got a request in a neighborhood about 5 minutes away. I get a little lost initially, because the map directs me to the alleyway behind the house. The guys get in, buckle up, and I start the ride on the app. I’m just getting ready to pull away from the curb when a cop car pulls up alongside me. Then the cop puts on the spotlight. Then we hear the sirens. A dozen or so cop cars pull up in front and behind us, surround and blocking the street. I’m starting to worry. Did I make an illegal u-turn or something? I’m trying to think what I could possibly have done to warrant this.
And then I start to panic. I had realized earlier in the day that I had an edible in one of my bags in the trunk. I moved it into my purse so I could take it home because I didn’t want to be driving around with it in this car. I’m definitely going to jail now. As I’m thinking this, one of the cops gets out with a K9. A voice comes over one of the cops loudspeakers.
‘TURN OFF THE CAR.’
‘THROW THE KEYS OUT THE WINDOW.’
Luckily I already had the window down, so out they go.
‘STICK YOUR HANDS OUT THE WINDOW.’
‘OPEN THE DOOR AND GET OUT OF THE CAR WITH YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD.’
I do so, and they tell me to back up to the sound of the voice. I back up, officer grabs me and pats me down. Do I have anything in my pockets that will hurt him? No, just chapstick. Again, surrounded by cops, all with their spotlights on. I’m about to cry, I’m freaking out for myself, but my passengers aren’t white and I’m honestly a little worried for them. So many cops, I have no idea what I did, and I have no idea what’s gonna happen.
I get passed off to another cop, who takes me across the street and sits me on the curb. I’m almost hyperventilating now, to the point where the cop says for me to take a minute and breathe, because he’s scared I’m gonna pass out. I calm down a little and while I’m taking a minute, I see them get the guys out of my car and they actually cuff them and sit them down a few feet apart on the curb.
The cop asks me what I’m doing, I explain I’m a Lyft driver, picking these dudes up, and the app is still open on my phone if he wants to check. He asks a few more questions, like do I know these guys, what time did I get the request, and what time did I get here. I’m talking to this cop and out of the corner of my eye, watching them take the dog to my car. I guess he didn’t smell the edibles, nothing ever came of that.
The cop walks to check on the guys, comes back, and says apparently they matched the description of two guys who stole a car in the neighborhood. They saw me pick them up and I could have been an accomplice or whatever. Well it wasn’t those guys, and I’m free to go, but they’re gonna have to tow my car. I immediately burst into tears. And the cops is like, ‘Oh no no, I’m just joking, trying to lighten the mood!’
So I get up and he’s walking me back to my car and asks how long I’ve been Lyfting. I said, ‘Oh, this is my third day.’
The last thing he said to me almost started me into hysterics again: “well now you have an interesting story to tell. Yeah, it’s not every day we pull people out of their cars with fully loaded weapons.’
Ride Of A Life Time
“I experienced the craziest, arguably most sad situation I’ve been part of while driving for Uber. I haven’t driven for Uber since. On this particular night, I received a peculiar request for a ride. The request came in, and everything seemed normal. He was three miles away, according to his request. As I’m driving to the pick up location, I get a phone call. It’s my passenger. Basically he says, ‘Hey man, I’m not actually at that location. I just had to put that so someone could come get me. I’m too far away from any other drivers, so the app made me put my location in your city, closer to other drivers. Come pick me up at my drop off location.’
This is okay with me, because I am getting paid to go pick him up. To my surprise, he lives over an hour away. Score, this is about to be easy money. About an hour and a half passes, and I roll up to a small little house in a decent area. I text my passenger, ‘Hey man, this is your driver. I’m outside!’
‘Cool, I’ll be out in a second.’
Out walks a guy, about 23 years old. Really handsome guy, he could have been a model. Thick brown hair, scruffy facial hair, nice smile, everything. He was charismatic and outgoing as well. He has an open bottle of a very strong drink in one hand, and sprite in the other as he walks to my car. Knowing this is against the law, I’m hesitant to let him in my car. But, I drove over an hour to pick this guy up, so I wasn’t about to turn him away because of his drink. He asks me if we can run into an ATM really quickly. I oblige, so get gets to the ATM. He gets $10 cash. He gets back in the car, and takes a swig of his drink, with the bottle ¾ full at this point. I ask him where he wants me to take him tonight.
‘Atlanta. It’s not a great part of town that we’re going in, but just trust me man, it’s all going to be okay. I promise.’
‘I’m calm man, don’t worry about that.’
We hit the road. Atlanta is two hours away from where we are at this point.
It’s a long ride, so we begin talking. I learn a lot about him. He’s wasted. He drinks every day, so his wasted state is actually incredibly coherent. He’s really smart. He’s a former UGA student and wanted to be a doctor. He dropped out of school and is now homeless and addicted to pills. He also has low self-esteem and doesn’t know what to do with his life. He is a self-proclaimed hot mess.
I find all of this to be interesting. I tend to be decent with people who are troubled in life, so I do what I can to try to talk to this kid. I want to help him. I want to relate to him. To get through to him. He clearly has his hands full with life. I ask him, ‘What’s your favorite thing in the world to do? Like, you have 24 hours to do this one thing. What do you do?’
He mentions some very hardcore substances.
‘Okay, lets spin the wheel again. Not quite the answer I was looking for.’
‘I like pills, man. Video games too. But mainly pills.’
‘Do you think you have a problem?’ I ask.
“Not really. I’ve been to rehab twice before. But I’ve never done it for myself. I only went because other people made me.’
I get a feel for this guy. He continues drinking his bottle. I’m going to get arrested if I get pulled over with this guy drinking this bottle in my car. Right before I get to the gas station, he accidentally spills his Sprite in my (new) car. This is where I began to see first hand his low self-esteem. When he spilled his Sprite, he started cursing himself. Talking about how he always messes everything up. About how he can never do anything right. He makes things worse for everyone. I assure him that he’s okay. I tell him I’ll clean it when we get to the gas station. We arrive. I tell him to go to the bathroom. I clean the spilled drink. No harm no foul. No big deal. When he comes out, I tell him everything is okay, and the car is as good as new. He’s still a little upset, but he gets over it.
Back on the road to Atlanta. We talk politics, religion, and some other things.
He passes out in my front seat from his drink He tells me to wake him up when we get to Atlanta. This is where things get interesting. And I mean truly interesting. He navigates me to a ghetto, run down, dark apartment. There are cops at every corner in this city, and I’m not exaggerating.
Just to give you an idea of how bad this part of town is, he tells me, ‘I’m going to run inside. I’ll be out in 3 minutes. PLEASE do not leave me here. Please. I’m begging you. I know it’s scary here, but please don’t leave me in this part of town. After this, you can leave me wherever you want. But please don’t leave me here.’
I have no idea what we’re doing at this terrible place, but I’ve found myself here at 4:00 a.m. with this guy. He gets out of my car, and runs to the third story of the apartment. Two minutes goes by, and he’s right back out in my car.
‘Alright man, we can go now.’
‘What on earth was that about man?’ I ask him.
‘I had to buy my some stuff. Pills.’
I just drove this guy two hours to a crack house. I’m gonna die tonight. I’m gonna die. We pull out of the dark parking lot. I’m JUST back into the main street, and he tells me to pull over to the side of the road. I oblige. He gets out, runs into the woods, and comes back with a bag. He grabbed his needles.
This kid is now sitting in my front seat with a very illegal substance. He takes off his shoe and sock. Ties his shoe laces around his ankle. This man is using a very illegal substance while I’m driving my car. At any second, he could stab me with this needle and kill me. I am going to get thrown in prison with this guy. I’m transporting some sketchy stuff. Wow. I’ve gone this far with this kid. I’m not backing out now. I’ve gotta do something. I’m gonna help this kid.
‘Listen man. You’ve got a problem. You just spent $175 in rides to get to Atlanta, for $10 worth of this stuff. Do you see the problem here?’ I directly ask.
He stays silent. The substance kicks in almost immediately. He’s super drowsy, incoherent at this point, trying to stay awake. He injected more than he realized, and his heart is slowing. He assures me he’s not going to die. He lets out a little laugh. He’s about to pass out, but he tells me to take him to a gas station. I take him to the one he requested. He gets out of my car, and stumbles into the woods at the gas station. I am watching his every move, seeing if he is going to rob this gas station, or whatever it is he is doing. He starts digging in the ground. Like a dog who is making a hole. He’s digging for about three solid minutes, then he makes his way back to my car. He found the stuff that he had hid last week, when he thought the cops were following him.
He then buys vinegar at the gas station. He then dilutes his rock in the vinegar, and starts shooting up into his foot in my car.
‘Take me to the hospital. I need to go to rehab. You’re right. I’m addicted. When you told me how much I spent on the ride to buy this stuff, that was a wake up call.’
At this point, he’s on the verge of tears. And so am I. I take him to the hospital. On the way there, he starts crying.
‘You’ve been a better friend to me than anyone I’ve ever known. Why? I don’t get it. There MUST be a reason that you were the one who was sent to pick me up tonight. It’s a sign. I don’t know who you are, but you’ve been a better friend to me tonight than I’ve ever had in my life. Why are you helping me? I’m a mess-up. You should have left me hours ago.’
I’m crying while driving this guy. I just want him to get better. We get to rehab at the hospital. I walk in to check this guy in. He stays in the car. I tell the receptionist what’s going on. The receptionist follows me to my car. Along with the police man, who was sitting next to him at the front desk. The cop is a huge pain in the butt at this point. He tells my passenger to get out of my car and put his hands up. After searching him, he tells him to gather his paraphernalia and he takes him inside. The officer tells me to follow. He is interrogating the kid, just relentlessly questioning him, and the kid is crying. He keeps saying, ‘I don’t want to go back to jail. I just want help. I don’t want to do this anymore.’
I step in and pretty much tell the officer to chill out, and quit intimidating the guy. The officer then pulls me aside and threatens to arrest me. He backs off the kid and starts interrogating me, telling me that I’m just as guilty as he is, and that I should be in prison right now. During his interrogation with me, the passenger says that I know nothing. I’m just an Uber driver. After my passenger mentions that, the officer tells me to get straight out of there. I left.
Today, I have no idea what came of the situation. I don’t know if the kid got the help he needed. If he went to jail. If he went home. Nothing. I have no idea.”
Keep It Hush-Hush
“I used to drive for Uber/Lyft. I had some bad ones (usually the VERY wasted), but for the most part everything was great and went very smoothly. My horror story came from a ride I gave ‘off the books’ as it were. I pulled up to the pick up location, girl comes out (the one who ordered the ride), and explains she ordered it for her friend. The card connected to the account has no money on it, but she offers me $20 for the ride in cash. Whatever, I needed the money and the spot she said her friend needed to go was relatively close.
I agree and she signals to this very tall guy, who walks down from the porch. Red flags were already going off. This guy gets in the back and we take off. I consider myself a pretty social and outgoing person, and soon into the ride this guy and I are talking about all sorts of things, from basketball to movies, as well as our disdain for traffic in the city. Five minutes or so of this and he brings up his love for weapons (next red flag), and asks if I own any. I don’t and inform him as such, so he then proceeds to pull out two weapons from his backpack, explaining how he just picked them up the other day and loves them. He even flashes them to me in the rearview mirror. I’m fully freaking out internally, but I keep my cool as we’re nearing the destination.
As we pull up to this guy’s house, he explains that he is a dealer and that he really enjoyed our conversation. He thinks I’d make a great driver for him as he makes his drops. I explain that I’m not interested, but thanked him for the compliment. Unfortunately he was fairly insistent I start working for him, and he would not exit the car until I gave him my phone number. He somehow bought the fake number I gave him and told me he’d call me soon. As soon as he was out of my car, I took off. That was one of the last nights I drove for Uber/Lyft
If the number I randomly gave out actually belongs to anyone, I apologize if you got a late night call from Tim.”
“I had a friend try Lyft for a while. He picked up a group of kids in a bad area of town at like 4 a.m., in his brand-new Volkswagen. On route to wherever he was taking them, one of the passengers freaked out, and kicked out one of the windows. My friend stopped the car. The guy climbed out of the window and ran away. He called into Lyft and told them what happened and was covered under their insurance, which had something like a $2000 deductible. I think the total bill was like $2300. He tried to put it on his normal insurance, but he told them he was driving for Lyft, so they denied him coverage.
The person who ordered the cab had a really unique name, and through some online stalking, he was able to find the passenger who had booked the ride, as well as the guy who kicked his window out subsequently. This is where it gets really interesting. He couldn’t get the guy to friend him on facebook or respond to any of his messages, but the guy had a website for his band. My friend was able to get all of his contact info that way and texted him that he needed to pay up or he was going to press charges. The guy kinda yanked him around for a little bit, but eventually paid. He even tried to skimp out at the end and skip a couple of payments (they worked out a plan because the dude had very little money). My friend just texted him a picture of the court documents, saying he would file if he was more than 24 hours late on payments. Surprisingly enough, he actually got 100% of what it cost him to fix his car back.
He hasn’t driven for lyft since.”
Transport Gone Horrifyingly Wrong
“While driving for Uber, I got a pick-up for one of the satellite buildings of a local hospital. No big deal, I’ve picked up and dropped off people there before, and I had never had an issue. As it turns out, the department I was picking up from was the rehab clinic for the area. As you may or may not know, there’s a 5-minute wait time from the moment we arrive (as determined by the app) to the moment when the driver can simply cancel and collect the cancellation fee. For obvious reasons, we tend to keep a sharp eye on the clock.
The time was getting close to the five-minute mark when I got a text. A nurse or doctor on the inside was using Uber to transfer a patient. Okay, still no big I guess? About ten seconds later, some bedraggled guy comes out a bit unsteadily and asks if I’m here for the Doctor. I said yes, and he said that he was the transfer. He got in, and I started the trip to discover that the trip was for 70 miles away to another rehab clinic. Now, long trips are my jam. I get paid well for them, and they’re easier and less stressful than a bunch of little trips, so I was pleased. Not two minutes into the trip, he was like, ‘Hey man I don’t really want to go there. Take me over there instead.’
He wasn’t asking, he was telling. Already, I’m uncomfortable and decide it’s easier to just do what this guy wants, rather than stick to the requested destination. He can’t pick out exactly which way he wants me to go, so just starts telling me to turn onto random streets. At some point during this adventure, he asks me how much cash I had on me. Red flags all around now. I tell him I don’t really carry cash. He sighs and says, ‘I was really hoping for at least $15,’ and pulls out a small knife. Yikes.
So now I’m panicking and pulling out my wallet at the next red light. I had $5 from someone who tipped me earlier that day, but nothing else. He took the bill and told me to keep going. I’m shaking a little just telling the story. We arrive at what I assume is a sketchy house. This guy tells me to wait for him and gets out of the car. I can only assume that he was desperate for his next hit or whatever, and so I didn’t really think that through. I shut and locked the door and took off as soon as he was across the street. I went home and reported it to Uber. I didn’t file a police report because it was only $5, and Uber said they’d take care of it. I don’t really believe it, but I didn’t really want to deal with anything else that day anyway.”
Mom Has Seen It All
“My mom drives for Uber. Probably like two months ago, she picked up this guy from a club, who was extremely wasted. His friend had ordered the ride for him. So this guy kept asking my mom to pull over so he could pee. I guess one of those times, he had squatted his butt down into a bush and pooped. He came back to the car with poop all over his clothes. Of course, he got poop on the seats and on the backs of the front seats. Oh, and he peed his pants in the car. My mom made sure he made it home safe, but his friend got a surprise $150 charge for cleaning.
She’s only been driving for around 6 months, but this is just one of many stories. People have puked, spit all over her floor, tried to not pay fees, and mistook her for a woman of the night.”
Mamma-Mia Let Me Go!
“I’ve had a few rides take me into some sketchy neighborhoods with even sketchier people riding, but everything has always ended up fine. The absolute worst experience was Natalie. A man ordered a ride for Natalie from a hospital to her house. I wait almost 10 minutes for them when he finally finds me (because being parked under the giant red Emergency Room sign was too inconspicuous), and he tells me I’m going to be giving Natalie a ride home. He’s practically carrying her because she can’t walk, but he reassures me that, ‘It’s cool, she drinks all the time so she won’t throw up in your car.’
I’m not sure who she was to him, but he pleaded with me to be extra careful and get her home safely before I left, which was odd. About two minutes into the trip, she asks me to play her a ‘pretty song’, and I oblige by turning the radio on. Of course, they’re playing Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. She gets excited and climbs halfway into my passenger seat from the back seat and starts SCREAMING her way through the song into my ear. After about two minutes of that torture ,I pull up outside the destination address, but she says, ‘This isn’t my house.’
‘Do you know where your house is from here?’ I ask.
So 20 more minutes of me circling blocks following her random directions, taking me farther and farther away from her destination. I’m getting towards the downtown area, where there’s nothing but retail shops and government buildings, and she suddenly tells me we’re here. So I happily pulled over and let her out of my car. As I pulled away, she was obviously lost and walking in circles.”
“I drive for Uber/Lyft as my sole means of income right now. It’s never a dull moment. I’ve done about 1,600 rides with Uber and close to 1,000 with Lyft in one year. Most passengers are awesome. I never have issues, even with the super wasted people. One night though, this girl and her friends (all clearly wasted) get in the car and are acting really obnoxious. I even joined in the banter a little bit, in order to keep the ride fun.
Going down a dangerous road at about 45 miles per hour, the girl sitting behind me reaches forward and covers my eyes. She pulls my head back against the headrest, jokingly saying something about, ‘What time is it without looking?!’
Game over. I was furious. Lucky for them, we weren’t far from their destination. Otherwise, I would have left them on the side of the road. I pulled over after dropping them off and left a lengthy complaint with Lyft about a dangerous passenger.”
No Boundaries At All
“I recently started driving for Uber a few weeks ago for temporary work. My experience has generally been okay, and by okay, I mean I just deal with terrible people sometimes and ‘get over it’. I’ve dealt with men asking for my phone number, secretly trying to take a photo of me, explicitly ‘complimenting’ me, etc. But this one experience has caused me to stop working with Uber for the past few weeks.
I picked up a group of four men, I would guess aged 40-50 years of age. First they tried to enter my Uber all with open containers, but I promptly told them NO. Within a few minutes, one of them in the back asks how long I’ve been married. I say I’m not married, but I am in a relationship (which isn’t true, but I want to end any sort of attempt of being hit on or asked out). He continues to go on anyways and ask for my number. I remind him I’m taken. He aggressively states, ‘If you’re not interested then just say so, otherwise I want your number.’
Another guy chimes in and says, ‘Obviously she’s not interested if she’s taken,’ to which the original guy says, ‘I’m not taking that as an answer; I want to know if she’s interested or not.’
I tell him directly, ‘Sorry I am not interested.’
Now, the man in the front passenger seat begins to ramble on. He begins making crude remarks about how hot I am, and making very explicit statements. Then, he notices my tattoos and asks to see them, but I tell him I’m driving and not wearing attire to properly show them (I’m wearing a skater dress that covers most of my thigh when I’m sitting). This prompts him, without asking, to LIFT MY DRESS UP AND THEN PUT IT BACK DOWN, patting my knee. I quickly brushed his hand away, and told him to please not do that again. So what does he do? He does it again and giggles. Same friend that spoke up before says, ‘Hey, leave the girl alone,’ and tells me to ignore him.
Now the guy gets irritated at the friend and says, ‘Geez, it’s not like I touched her privates. She has to ask me to do that…’
Then he directs his attention to me and says, ‘I bet I can do it better than any other guy has. Could you come up to my room for $100?’
I say, ‘No, thank you.’
He continues to ask me to literally solicit myself several times, his ‘final offer’ capped at $500. The guy in the back again chimes in and tells him to shut up. He does. I finally get to their hotel and drop them off. They all stumble out and thank me for the ride.
I was really upset after this ride. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t because I don’t want to feel weak. I was too scared to end the Uber ride because I don’t really know what it would escalate to if I did. Would he have gotten mad? Gotten physical? I don’t know. Despite my polite responses and forced smile, these men felt entitled to behave this way. They were old enough to be my parents, and yet they spoke to me like I wasn’t even a human being. I was objectified and my personal space was violated.
I haven’t driven since and it stinks, because I am in-between jobs and just accruing debt right now. My dad immediately sent me a camera to set up in my car, but again I’ve just been so off-put and anxious about the whole thing that I’ve been avoiding it.”