The Uber-Lyft Driver Sob Story: Are you a victim?

The Uber-Lyft Driver Sob Story: Are you a victim?

Initially slow to adapt to ride sharing services, I’m all over them now. The at-your-door on-demand pick-up, the cost savings, the not having to pick up a teenager across the city late on a Friday night. But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: the down-on-my luck over-sharing ride-share driver.

It happened to me again on Tuesday with Lyft. My driver, we’ll call her “Kate,” was taking me back to my hotel and she, initially hesitantly, told me she’d just become homeless. In fact, coincidentally enough, the night before was the very first night she had to spend sleeping in her car -- the very one we were driving in.

Well, you see, Kate was just divorced and he left her with nothing, but the guy was from Texas and Kate is from England and maybe that’s the reason she didn’t know better than to mess with a guy from Texas.

She had a new day job (Hear: “I am not a deadbeat!”) as a clinical psychologist for a hospital or something and was optimistic she would get back on her feet, but she needed a place to stay beside her Toyota Sequoia (I know, right? She got something in that divorce.) and she had no family in Los Angeles and… and… and…

And all I could think was, “I didn’t wake up this morning trapped in a Country Western song.”

Regardless, I way over-tipped her. In spite of some reservations she may be handing me a line of crap. I’ve heard a bunch of sob stories from Uber and Lyft drivers (Kate’s was the best!) and I tend to be a generous tipper anyway, but I tipped her $50 in cash.

She cried when I gave it to her. Initially, she refused and tried to give it back. Kate was either sincere, or a really, really great actress. Hey, it was LA after all.

I know. I’m a sucker for a well-written sob story. The way I see it, if her story really was true, she needed the money way more than I did. And if it were all a ruse to get that big tip, then the bad karma is all on her.

After she dropped me off, I remembered one little detail that gave me pause. When she told me her ex was from Texas (I was trapped in a Country Western song!) and I said, “Well that explains it,” she told me that was the same reaction everyone else has had in regards to her ex. Hmmm. Apparently, Kate’s been telling her sob story a lot.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard the “I’m holding down six jobs with ten mouths to feed" type sob story from my Uber or Lyft driver and I wonder if now, it’s a thing. The plea or the ploy for the big tip. I fell for it this time.

But hey, as an author and blogger, maybe I think everyone should be rewarded monetarily for telling a good story.

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