With the rise of ride sharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, a large number of us basically hitchhike on a regular basis. The smartphone apps might prevent us from having to hail a taxi or actually exchange money, but there's still plenty of room for human interaction, which can range from comical to scary. Throw in the new phenomenon of surge pricing and there's ample opportunity for disaster. We polled people we know to get real-life tales of ride sharing gone wrong. Spoiler alert: Prius drivers, it's officially time to lock your car doors.
An Impromptu Hookup
"An Uber driver told my friend that he asked to use his passenger's bathroom. When he came out, she was naked and they slept together. He was like, 'What can I do? I'm just a man.'" — Anonymous, SF
Prius Drivers Beware
"My friend who has a Prius always gets mistaken for an Uber. On a Monday night, this drunk group of girls on Polk Street opened her back door while we were in the car, stopped at a red light. Like, what the actual hell people." — Nicole, SF
The Case of the Two Shannons
"One day I walked out to get in my Uber because I got a ping that my Uber was there. When I walked out, there was a yellow taxi cab, which I dismissed, but then he stuck his head out of the window and said, 'Shannon? Are you Shannon?' Confused, I said yes and got in.
As I was getting in I told him that I was expecting a regular car. He shrugged and started taking me to my house, and then five minutes later, I got a text . . . from my real Uber. I asked my driver what the deal was, and he tells me he's not Uber, but he was sent to pick up Shannon. Turns out it was a totally different Shannon who coincidentally called a cab to the same office building at the exact same time. I had to call my real Uber driver and explain so he didn't think I flaked." — Shannon, LA
The Best Driver Ever
"We hopped into a Lyft car on a Friday night, and immediately knew this one was special. The guy had clipped two rows of snacks for his passengers — fruit rolls ups, Famous Amos cookies, Reese's Pieces, and sandwich bags that he had individually filled with Chex Mix. Pretty much an 8th grader's (or drunk person's) dream. That wasn't all . . . in the cup holders, he had placed Pringles and Starburst! My friend asked if we had to pay for the snacks individually and the driver just laughed if off. 'Of course not!'"— Lisette, SF
A Scary Sidecar Situation
"I got in the Sidecar by myself around 2 a.m. after going to a bar, and as soon as I got in the car, the driver said, 'You have the sexiest voice I've ever heard.' I was immediately uncomfortable, but it got worse when I was a couple of blocks away from my place, and he said, 'How about instead of me dropping you off, I take you somewhere else and we can talk or something?'
I asked him to let me out immediately, and my boyfriend came to walk me home. I reported it to Sidecar, and they apologized, told me how to block him from ever picking me up again, and gave me a $5 credit. Not like I reported him for the money, but if you're going to compensate me, give me more than five effing dollars." — Lisette, SF
This Is Not a Hijacking
"I hate to say it, but I'm actually one of the idiots who tried to get into an unassuming charcoal-gray Prius. After a long dinner (read: lots of wine), my boyfriend and I called upon the ever-trusty UberX. We were under an awning waiting for a charcoal-gray Prius to pull up, so when one pulled up, we ran out and frantically started trying to open the back doors to get in. We were on superbusy Market Street and were trying not to hold up the traffic!
We quickly realized we were in the wrong car when the young woman driving the car looked back at us with please-don't-kill-me fear in her eyes. We tried to backtrack and apologize for our idiocy as she sped off. That was one-and-a-half years ago when UberX was in its infancy and there was no physical indicator like the glowing 'U' we have now. Regardless, we've been careful about not terrorizing young women since." — Grace, SF
Too. Much. Information.
"A co-worker and I were chatting with our Uber driver and asked him if he had any favorite passenger stories. He said, 'I sure do . . . there were a few girls that stood out. If you know what I mean. It's definitely one of the perks of the job.' I then barfed in my mouth. He also talked about the fact that doctors and nurses are the horniest passengers and are always making out in his car after their shifts." — Christine, SF
"I was the victim of serious Uber surge pricing in San Francisco one Saturday when I paid $93 to travel exactly 5.02 miles. That weekend was the perfect storm of big events including the America's Cup finals. I was not only desperate to get from the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in Golden Gate Park to my friend's fleet week party in Pacific Heights, but also apparently intoxicated enough that I ignored the surge pricing warnings. Oops." — Lauren, SF
That's Not Your Black Car
"I was looking for a black Lincoln town car, and it said it had arrived on my block, so I opened the door to one that was parked on the side of the road, and the backseat was filled with tons of junk, like someone was living out of it. I looked up at the driver who was completely baffled and said, 'Sorry, I thought you were my Uber' before slamming the door and running for my life." — Anna, SF
You're in the Wrong Uber
"I called an UberX to pick me up from a hotel in LA. The driver called to double-check my location, and I told him I was in front. He said he'd be there in two minutes. Two minutes later an UberX pulled up. I got in and gave him the location I was headed.
Ten minutes into the drive, my phone rang. The person said, 'Hi, it's your Uber. Where are you?' For a moment I freaked out. I said, 'Wait. I'm in my Uber.' The driver turned around and said, 'Are you Monica?' I said, 'No, I'm Annie.' The other driver on the phone said, 'I have a Monica waiting here.' Turns out myself and this Monica person had both called UberX to the same place, and I got in the wrong one. I canceled my ride and gave the driver $20 in cash when we got to my destination. Since then, I always have the driver give me a name before I get in." — Annie, SF
An Emergency Download
"I downloaded Lyft at 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve this year because I was stranded at a party. It cost me $50 to go 5 miles. Lesson learned, don't go to house parties far away from busy streets and cabs on holidays! The driver was lovely though." — Mary, SF
Two's a Crowd
"This one time, my Uber driver picked me up in a coupe. As someone who uses Uber a lot, I've grown accustomed to having my time in the backseat to look at emails, reply to texts, and get caught up on the news. I would have felt rude doing my usual routine in his car. I felt like I needed to have a conversation with him the entire time, and it was awkward." — Nick, LA
When You Call an Uber For an Overserved Pal
Presented in iMessage form:
— Molly, SF