So, briefly, a review of the Uber rules:
1. No puking. My singular, immutable, die-on-that-hill rule. If you must puke, don’t get in the Uber. If you are already in the Uber, you must not puke. If you face any confusion regarding this rule, simply pass into the next life, Bon Scott-style, and I promise to sort it out with your next of kin.
2. No smoking. That means no cigs, no stogies, no blunts. No hookahs, vaporizers or whatever numbnuts contraptions you haze fiends have created back at the lab.
I get it: Those 12 minutes in my Sonata are precious moments you could be turning your lungs into fried Spam, and you can never get that time back. Find a way to cope. It builds character.
3. No booze in the car. Makes sense, right? Tell that to my riders.
It’s simple: Uber isn’t a party bus. Drivers sign up to shuttle riders safely from Point A to Point B, not to risk open container citations for drunken, dimwitted strangers. Also, not for nothing, see Rule 1.
4. Four belts, four riders. Look, Copernicus, the math checks out: one seat and one belt per rider. My ride isn’t a clown car. It isn’t a flophouse. The high school pep band will not, in fact, fit into the cabin of this mid-size, four-door sedan. Broken axles and wrongful death suits aren’t my thing, so buy a sixer of Natty Ice instead of the case of Pabst and pony up for the second Uber.
And, no, bro: You aren’t going to tip me if I’ll just “be cool.” You know it. I know it.
5. Clean up after yourself. I’ve had customers seemingly mistake my ride for the dessert buffet at the Ponderosa in Hammond, Indiana. Some nights, I would swear the Local 745 United Steelworkers had held their poker night in my back seat. Just a week ago, I picked up a grumpy cat who demanded tissue (all I had were napkins), then honked for 20 minutes before leaving the phlegmy remains scattered around my floorboards.
Best practices: If you’re on the short list to appear on Hoarders, or even if you’re just a garden-variety filthy animal, ignore every basic instinct and cosplay Martha Stewart until you see my tail lights round the corner.
6. Ask—don’t tell—if you’d like a stop-off. Uber’s rules for stops between pickup and destination are ambiguous. The company doesn’t prohibit them, but it stops short of requiring drivers to accept them. For the record, I’ve never turned one down—even last night’s gas station pit stop in a supremely dangerous Chicago neighborhood. (Hey, Ramona needed snacks.)
But this isn’t a concierge service, Sir Periwinkle. For 15 cents a minute (yes, that’s the going rate for UberX), consider it an executive decision left up to the driver. We make our money on miles, plus bonuses for number of trips made. So if you’re gonna stand in the way of that, don’t be a jagoff and …
7. Don’t be afraid to tip. News flash: There is literally nothing stopping you from tipping your driver. Uber champions its cashless app but provides no tipping option within it, implicitly okaying you to stiff its employees. Drivers, when offered, are instructed to remind riders that tipping isn’t necessary. (And I have, in all honestly, uttered the phrase “No, that’s too much” in response to a handful of over-the-top tips.)
But mama didn’t raise no fool. If you throw me a few bucks, I’ll look you in the eye, offer my heartfelt appreciation and, without a second thought, stuff those bills away like a ravenous pack rat. We earn this shit.