Uber: In the Driver's Seat
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Uber: In the Driver's Seat

Behind the Wheel

Uber: In the Driver's Seat

Stumbling around the corner, staring down intently at the app on her phone, she looked up only to find a car parked in an unfamiliar location. She hopped into the passenger seat, her friends giggling in the back. She started conversing with a very confused young gentleman in the driver’s seat. She saw his puzzled face.

She uttered, “Wait, are you not my Uber?”

Realizing the answer before the startled college student even spoke, she and her friends quickly hopped out of the car. Embarrassed and not in the most coherent state of mind, the group went on a mission in search to find the correct vehicle.

With the popularity of Uber rising, many can relate to this very true story. The phenomenon of Uber has not only allowed for helpful transportation without the incredulous prices and hassle of taxis, but it also provides part-time jobs for those desiring some extra cash.

Many Uber costumers are content sitting quietly in the backseat, but the experience of Uber is much more fascinating to see through the eyes of the complete stranger behind the wheel. Each person, including the driver, has their own reason and story leading them to Uber. Haven’t you ever wondered what it might be?

Brian Gonzalez, 23, was a Swift semi-truck driver who, in 9 months, covered 46 states driving tens of thousands of tons behind him. Tired of the lifestyle and desperate to return to school he quit his job and looked for work locally.

Gonzalez started his education at a Universal Technical Institute for industrial engineering and landed a job at an Active Headquarters Warehouse. He struggled with balancing his studies as a full time student and his long, hard days of work. His life left very little time for sleep let alone any extracurricular activities, but everything changed when his friend recommended he start driving for Uber.

He was hesitant until he finished his first drive. After which, he walked away with approximately $200 in his pocket. Continuing to drive for the next three days he made a total of $740.

He said, “I ain’t talking about no 8 hours either, I’m talking like 3 hours (each day).”

The little effort he exerted with the large payout he received was too good to pass up. He quit his other job, and while working exclusively for Uber he found he was able to sleep regular hours and more easily pursue his education.

With the extra money he was able to quit his intensive factory job and focus on his career. Gonzalez explained how his dream career is to work on cars and build engines. Through Uber he is able to live the life he wants with the hours he chooses. Through Uber, Gonzalez can invest in his future and invest in himself.

Manuel Ramirez, 53, had taken an early retirement from working as a government employee at a boring desk job in a boring office. He began his Uber career because he wanted to get out of his house. As an Uber driver he has seen some crazy things.

Ramirez described one car ride he endured with four cross-dressers. The men were each showing a provocative amount of cleavage, and their makeup was done flawlessly.

He said, “Two of them where ugly guys and the other two, if they would have stood next to Kim Kardashian, in her most sultry attire, she would have lost.”

During the car ride the passengers kept reiterating how they were indeed girls, which is what “tipped him off that they weren’t,” and his instinct “proved to be correct.”

Through all the craziness Ramirez enjoys the perks of the extra cash. With the pocketed money, he spoils his grandchildren with “toys, movies, trips to the beach and more toys.”

Ramirez laughed and said, “(I’m) pissing off my kids by spoiling them rotten, but I’m just doing my just-do as a grandparent.”

When he is not buying toys for his grandchildren, he spends his money travelling with his wife.

Both him and his wife share a passion to see the world. Ramirez recalls his best memory with his wife as when they set out to drive to New York with “nothing but a toothbrush in their possession.” The two never made it to their final destination though because they ended up spending two weeks exploring St. George, Nev. They fell in love with this little town nestled just north of Las Vegas and even considered moving there in the future.

Their trip to St George, Nev., as well as many others they have taken, strengthened their love over the years. Through it all, Ramirez notes the one secret to a happy marriage.

He said, “Don’t forget to treat each other like boyfriend and girlfriend… Because complacency is an ugly animal.”

During the car ride, his wife was texting him asking when he was going to return. Ramirez spoke about his wife, and it was obvious he loved her very much.

The song “Someone like You” by Adele blared in the background of the Uber, “I treat my wife like my girlfriend,” Ramirez said reminiscing, “I’m always trying to impress her.”

The two have been married for 30 years, and he spends everyday treating her like they are still dating.

Michael Lenart, 62, has been married to his wife Silvia for 32 years. He was unable to define the secret to a happy marriage.

Lenart simply chuckled and said, “If you could answer that then you could be a billionaire.”

Lenart became an Uber driver because he was “tuning into the tube” when he saw an enticing commercial about the business. He had recently retired from his job and was planning to purchase a new car. Lenart had saved up enough money until his identity was stolen, and with this scandal, the thief ran away with a good amount of his savings account too.

While the insurance worked to recover the stolen money, Lenart was not in a financial place to afford a new car. Annoyed and frustrated waiting on his insurance, he took matters into his own hands and started working for Uber. He decided he would fund his own car purchase even through the setback of the identity theft.

Through hard work and long hours driving Uber, with the extra cash, Lenart hopes to make enough extra money to purchase his new car. His determination is exemplified in his ability to not let something out of his control, like the identity theft, dictate the process of getting what he wants. Uber has allowed him to utilize his strong work ethic to take back control of his life.

I left the car after the interview with Lenart. I waved goodbye to this lovely elderly man in his blue, plaid shirt and realized I had forgotten to ask one question. I signaled to him, and he rolled down the window. I asked Lenart what made driving worth it for him.

He smiled and said, “People like you sweetheart, you’ve made my night pleasurable. Get home safe.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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