Uber: Crazy Taxi Tales

Uber is a strange social construct—here’s why.

by Savannah Peykani

As most UCI students have experienced, there’s one ominous concept that taints any venture to Newport Beach: the impossibility of parking.

Aware of this — and wishing to avoid the whole ordeal altogether — my friends and I decided to pile into an Uber when visiting a friend who lives on that surreal peninsula. We didn’t realize the most surreal part of the night had yet to begin.

The car pulled up, and looking in immediately, my boisterous friend Leya blurted out, “It’s Santa!”

Sure enough, there sat a jolly, excessively bearded old man in a red t-shirt and wise, wire-framed specs. He even greeted us with a “Ho, ho, ho!” as we looked at each other in disbelief.

Do we get in this car? Is this too weird? Do we have a choice?

These were the questions running through our heads as our eyes danced from one another back to the man in the front seat. In the end, we took the Christmas plunge and got in the car.

During our brief ride back to campus, Santa really hammed up the illusion, asking us what we want for Christmas. We asked him standard Santa questions like how Mrs. Claus is doing and what the reindeers are up to since he’s driving this Honda around Orange County in the off season.

Was the ride weird? Yes. Did we feel uncomfortable? Not really. This guy just had a look and he was rolling with it.

It wasn’t until the next morning that our group message blew up with texts that read “Wait… Did Santa give us a ride home last night?”

 

by Jasmine Chung

It was approximately 11:30 p.m. in New York City when my Uber pulled up around the corner of the street I was waiting on. My destination was only seven blocks away but, a day’s worth of walking did enough to my feet and I just wanted a break to end my night.  The sedan approached me and the engine shut off. A medium sized male got out of the car in a suit and opened my door for me. He escorted me into the back seat of the car and gently shut the door behind me. “What a gentleman,” I thought.

Things got weird as he got back into his driver seat. He wouldn’t turn on his engine and he sat in silence for a good minute. I cleared my throat. He turned around and smirked at me.

“Off we go, mademoiselle” he slurred smoothly.

He started the car and a loud series of stringed instruments started to play.

“Beethoven,” he stated proudly.

He spoke in a broken British accent and used fancy words I couldn’t understand. He talked about escargot and black tie events he regularly attended.

When we arrived at my building, he turned off his engine again and proceeded to open my car door again. He kissed my hand as he bent down on one knee —  I kid you not.

He said, “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance my lady,” and he drove off.

Either he was stuck in the wrong century, or he read up too many of those “10 Ways to Be a Gentleman” articles. All in all, yes, I would take Uber again! Was it weird? Most definitely. Did I leave the car confused? Yep. But it did make for a memorable night and maybe that was his own unique form of marketing his company.

 

by Jessica Resendez

Last night was an Uber kind of night. The air was cool, my midterms were done and the margarita from Red Robin’s happy hour was slowly starting to kick in. Feeling flushed in the face and stuffed in the gut, I thought it’d be a good idea to try out Uber for the first time.

Let me just tell you that good ole’ Bahram, my driver, was a pretty cool dude. He rolled up to the Irvine Spectrum in a sleek black Prius and a can-do attitude. With his little round glasses and fluffy white mustache, he had that grandpa swag that made me feel like I was in good hands.

In the fifteen minutes it took him to drive me home, we talked about his kids in college and the benefits of a cost efficient car. At times, our conversation would dull out and I’d take this as an opportunity to enjoy Irvine’s twinkling lights.

But overall, my first experience was calm and relaxed. I can appreciate Uber for what it is: a personalized taxi and I’m glad Bahram shared a piece of his life with me. It turned out to be a peaceful end to a stressful week.

 

by Summer Wong

While visiting San Francisco for my seventeenth birthday,  my adventures took a bad turn when my friend Samantha’s car broke down. It was soon clear that there was no other option but to Uber home. We were desperate, stuck alone in the middle of the night in the middle of an unfamiliar city.

When our Uber driver arrived, I immediately started having second thoughts. He drove an old and rusty Toyota Camry with two huge scratches lining the car from front to back that the driver attempted to cover up with a cheap paint job.

Samantha shot me a look of panic and as the driver stuck his head out of the window, I gulped. The penetrating gaze, the brightly colored eyes and the curl of his lips sent cold shivers up my spine lent itself to a sinister aura that made me fear for my life throughout the entire ride.

Sam and I dared not utter a word throughout the entire ride. We were on the edge of our seats as if perched for flight, feeling so anxious to just leave the car.

My mistrust of others made me think we were actually being kidnapped. I now understand the anxiety that most women feel when interacting with strange men in public, and as I frantically started texting my parents, my heart pounding furiously against my chest.

When we finally arrived at our destination, the two of us sprang up out of our seats and made a mad dash inside the comfortable environment of my home.

To this day, neither of us have ridden in a Uber since. It was just too scary and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.