After driving for 45 minutes today, I discovered that I had earned only $4.16. And this after having the air conditioning give out once, having the engine overheat twice, and having to change which direction I searched for building number 210 three times before I found the guy’s second-floor apartment and delivered his 40 chicken nuggets and two large orders of McDonald’s fries. Normally when it takes that long to deliver food over more than 10 miles of city driving you make more for the effort. But they don’t start paying you until you pick up the food, and from home to Ronald’s place in Irving, Texas was easily eight of the ten miles.
Really scary story, huh?
But that’s what Uber driving is like. It is benign sort of slavery where you use your own car and gas money, your own car insurance to protect you from Texas Bubbas in Chevy pickups, and your own wits to survive and deliver hot food in the punishing Texas summer heat.
The worst experience I got from this summer’s food delivery came at the hands of a fellow school teacher. I had to deliver faculty lunch to an elementary school in the last week of summer school classes. It was a large lunch with two bags of burgers and a tray loaded with drinks in flimsy cardboard cups. It was a short drive from the restaurant to the school. But when I got there, it was a school with many entrances and kids playing on two different sides of the building. I went to the door I thought the Uber navigator was directing me to. I knocked. When I got no answer, I called the lady who ordered everything. I told her I was at the west door. She told me that I had to find the main door on the south side of the building. So I managed to juggle the two sacks and the easily spillable drinks to three different doors on the south side, all locked. I called again and was told I must have the wrong building, so I went to the school building across the street and found an office building with only kindergarten and daycare kids present. I called again.
“How can you mess it up so badly? Our food will be cold and we have no time left to eat it. And you are at the wrong building! None of the other Uber drivers had this much trouble.”
So, after having been called an idiot, I quickly found a playground guardian to ask and was directed to the proper door on the NORTH side of the building. I apologized and delivered the food. She made complaints to Uber and told them that my behavior was unprofessional and the food was late. So my job as an Uber driver was briefly in jeopardy. I called the Uber driver masters and offered to refund my four-dollar fee to the customer to make amends. They told me they appreciated the sentiment, but they NEVER give the money back. So I went home grumbling, dripping gallons of sweat, four dollars richer and an hour’s worth of misery wiser.
I hope you appreciate that I waited four weeks to write this horror story. It was the only way I could write it without profanity or bad words.