"Maybe some training?"

 Night Traffic By Feelart (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Night Traffic By Feelart (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

“I just apply online, and I get the job; just like that?”

“No questions asked.”

“No questio-- oh, criminal check, yeah, background check, like a regular job; you know?”

My first driver was a father of four and an employee at the Supreme Court of Canada. It was his second day on the job; he was both incredibly kind, and a terrible navigator – which was actually pretty entertaining.

“So, left or?”

“Uh, I’m not sure, what does your phone say?” I don't drive often so I wasn't much help.

“Huh?”

“I usually take the bus.”

“One minute, one minute.”

He was not unsafe – I felt very safe in his family’s new Dodge Caravan (Uber drivers can't use vehicles made prior to 2006) – but he was confused, even with the GPS function in the Uber app. I have to take some credit for his getting lost though, I wouldn’t have fared very well if some snoopy jerk in the back seat were interrogating me about my life and my new, kind of illegal, job either.

“Okay, okay, sorry, we turn around.”

“Hey, man, it’s okay.” I wasn’t annoyed or anything, it was his second day, but he was clearly ignoring the GPS instructions, so I took out my phone.

“I think it’s a left here.”

“…”

“This one, coming up.”

“Huh?”

“This one here.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, it was that one.”

U-turns were made and we did have to pull over once but all things considered, we arrived and everybody got a five star rating (did I mention Uber allows you to rate your drivers and vice versa? because that's worth mentioning).

I stayed in the car for a while and we talked about Uber, and non-Uber related things. Just before I left I asked him if there was anything he would change about his new job.

"Uh, maybe some training?"

Nothing's perfect.

In the weeks after the city’s recent tragedy, news coverage of the Uber Vs. stuffy Ottawa legislators has slowed down quite a bit because – and luckily for Uber drivers – police efforts have been reassigned from sting operations to circle monuments with assault rifles, and no charges have been laid on drivers in over a month.

I’m including the following video tutorial for exactly two reasons: (1) the educational requirements of this blog submission (3 hyperlinks, 1 photo, 1 video), and (2) if at least one of the people reading this becomes an Uber driver, I’ll feel pretty great about what I’ve done here.


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Matthew Thibeault

Matthew is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction whose work has appeared nowhere in particular.

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Stuff he reads: Harper's | The Walrus | Oxford American