An inappropriate conversation between Lyft driver and uncomfortable patron.
Megan and I were recently in Austin, TX for Mom 2.0 Summit. We traveled together from Orange County and were welcomed by thunderstorms and nachos. Our time in Austin was so great. Megan flew home early Saturday morning while I slept off a minor hangover from the night before. I was genuinely concerned about her needing a ride to the airport so early in the morning hours. Luckily, with so many conference attendees also leaving, Megan was able to share a ride with another woman. Safety in numbers.
I chose to fly home later in the afternoon. After checking out of the JW Marriott, I booked a ride with Lyft to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. I wasn’t afraid to ride solo but it also wasn’t before the break of dawn. I felt completely safe. My driver showed up within minutes, he helped me with my luggage and he was familiar with the airport’s newer and desolate south terminal. It was all off to a great start.
I always choose to sit in the backseat when taking an Uber or Lyft. Call me Miss Daisy but I want to purposely create some space between the driver and myself. Uber even shares these safety tips on their website where it strongly urges single riders to sit in the backseat.
My driver and I started off talking mostly about the city and its changes in traffic and tourism. He told me how he used to live in the Bay Area of Northern California before relocating to Austin for work some 35 years ago. I learned about his three kids and his grand baby, the recent death of his wife and his new bachelor pad. And then, the conversation went sideways.
He told a story about one of his loyal clients. With a slight southern drawl, he initially called her an escort but continued to call her a hooker thereafter. Wide-eyed behind my sunglasses, I thought the language he was using to describe his loyal client was an insult to her.
I remained quiet, checking my app to see how much further the airport was. He continued on about how his kids want him to date now that he’s a widower and how they often joke with him about his relationship with this woman. He goes on to tell me about one night where two of his kids asked him specifically if he got his “noodle wet” courtesy of his friend. He laughed. I cringed.
The absolute worst part of the ride came when he decided to share intimate details of a conversation had between the two after his wife’s death. “She says…” he pauses, “‘should I take you upstairs and you know, take care of you?'” He chuckles and explains how he turned her down because it had only been four days since his wife’s death.
Where was the freaking airport already?!
Crazy enough, I have found myself making excuses for him. I never felt in danger, just uncomfortable. He was so nice, I tell myself. And maybe I’m overreacting because there is no way he could be rated a 5-star driver if he is having similar conversations with other patrons.
What to do next after the weird encounter with your driver?
First, you can rate your driver poorly and don’t give a tip. Second, you can submit a complaint or bad driver report to the ride-booking service you have used.
Uber help page
Lyft help page
This incident gave way to a bigger conversation in our Shorties Facebook Group where others shared examples of being on the receiving end of hurtful and inappropriate comments. You can read a few tips here on how to strike back in the moment to shut the person down.
What would you have done in my shoes? Would you have told the Lyft driver that he was making you uncomfortable? Would you have asked to end the ride? Or would you have sat in silence and counted the seconds until the ride was over? Tell us in the comments.