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Horror Stories From the Back of an Uber

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors

We’ve all been there—that time when you just couldn’t stand another moment of waiting in the cold for the school shuttle to drive you to Tenleytown. So, you order an Uber car to pick you up. After the car pulls up in the dark, you get a call from an unknown number from a guy who gives you a vague description of where he is parked. After walking aimlessly around outside, you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, or atleast the car that matches the description on the app. You hesitantly open the car door and ask the driver who he is picking up like you’re in a CIA interrogation.  What happens after you get into the Uber car may or may not be the biggest mistake of your car-riding life. To get the D.C. take on Uber, we went straight to the AU students—these are their stories.

Your personal belongings can’t always be trusted with your Uber driver—that much is evident from past history. Claire Holmberg ’18 recounts, “Okay so I was taking a short Uber back to campus and I left my phone in the Uber. I called the driver within 5 minutes of getting out of the car and he had the new passengers (two boys he had just picked up) answer the call. The boy in the Uber told me that the Uber driver was unwilling to give my phone back because I was disrespectful to him during the Uber (although we sat in silence the entire ride). I turned my find my iPhone tracker on and he had driven all the way to Gainesville Virginia (about an hour from here) and wouldn’t answer my phone calls for three days. I contacted Uber headquarters and told them that my Uber driver had stolen my phone and they ended up contacting him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t bring it to Uber headquarters in DuPont circle. So he finally gave it back to Uber 3 days later, and I went to headquarters to pick it up. From that point on, I don’t trust Uber.”

In addition, it’s also very easy for someone to “steal” an Uber car. In an effort to describe what not to do, Amanda* ’17 says, “One time my friends and I walked out of the building and saw an Uber car waiting. We went up to it and the driver asked us if we were with Jackie, and we said yes. He took us all the way to campus without even realizing we weren’t even the ones who called the Uber car.”

The professionality of the Uber drivers can also be pretty questionable. Thulasi Gunaratnam ’18 says, “My friend and I were coming back from a concert one night. Right after we got into the car and he started driving, he handed me his phone and asked me if I could help him figure out how to complete a money order on an app. I couldn’t figure it out, and I told him about Venmo, a different app that a lot of college kids use to transfer money. He then told me he couldn’t use a different app because he was transferring money to someone in prison. Needless to say, my friend and I were terrified and sat in silence for the rest of the ride.”

In conclusion, be careful the next time you call an Uber car to pick you up. Guard your belongings, don’t try to help the driver with technological problems, and please, do not steal someone’s Uber car. 

*Name changed for privacy 

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Born in Peoria, Illinois, Taylor is an International Studies major at American University in Washington, D.C.. She  has a passion for fashion, style, and beauty writing, and she hopes to occassionally bring the political dynamic of D.C. into her articles. 
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