Another life lesson learned in the world of rideshare

I was working in Los Angeles and it had already been a long night. I had a pick-up from a concert at The Wiltern on Wilshire and it was about 11 P.M. My riders turned out to be a bunch of young, college-age white girls headed to a Hollywood club for an after-party.

They piled into the car and immediately started up with the excited chatter of teeny boppers who had just had a brush with fame. They claimed to be drunk and were headed to a 21-and-over club, but these girls looked and acted like they were in their…


Uber revelations on the interconnectedness of us all

Image for post
Image for post
The sunset outside as I worked on this piece. Photo by the author.

The six degrees

It’s a great movie, a wonderful party game, and a fascinating concept — the idea that we are all connected in some way by just six levels, six steppingstones of people in our associations and familial relations. If you doubt the veracity of such a claim, go drive Uber for a living.

One of the more interesting aspects I find in writing about my job as a driver is that I am quite possibly writing about someone you know, someone who resembles someone you know, or someone who knows someone you know…or quite possibly even you.

It runs deeper than…


I can’t believe what I am seeing…

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

-Proverbs 11:14

I wasn’t planning to write right now. I was planning to edit and maybe clean the house. I was going to do the grunt work that would allow me to be productive during quarantine as Southern California will be entering a stay-at-home order tomorrow for the next 3 weeks.

I don’t have to be told to stay at home. That is pretty much what I do because I have too much respect for life…


Some useful knowledge I learned on a Sunday drive…

I was taking the circuitous route home after picking up my morning coffee. I was tired of sitting at home quarantining and decided to take a little drive. I wandered deeper and deeper into the burbs and was sitting at the light fiddling with my music when I heard the lady in the car behind me yell “What the fuck is this? You people are insane.”

I thought I had slept on the light and so I looked up to see a Chump Train chugging through the intersection in front of…


My love of baseball and my fear the game is vanishing

Image for post
Image for post
This is a story about history, San Francisco, and baseball. Photo by the author.

San Francisco, Any Summer of Recent Past

I was driving rideshare around The City picking up passengers and spinning the radio dial in search of something different to listen to. Driving in San Francisco is always a nostalgic experience due to the tremendous history of its many storied neighborhoods. The salty sea air is steeped in tradition, laden with stories intricate in detail like the beautiful Victorian awnings hanging off the ‘Painted Ladies’ on Postcard Row. My go-to audio dose of nostalgia in San Francisco is usually the Grateful Dead, but sometimes I like to diversify.


The reverberations of small moments…

Image for post
Image for post
Coming across a large tree while on the road driving rideshare. Photo by the author.

This is a quick vignette about the tremendous impact that can come from a seemingly insignificant conversation. We never know the domino effect that will be triggered by the slip of a tongue, an unintentionally consequential recommendation, or a casual conversation. Wayward words waft in the wind when spoken in the moment, taking on a life of their own in the hearts and minds of the earnest ears that hear them.

I was reviewing notes from my driving experience when I came upon a blurb about a couple. I couldn’t remember their names for the…


A cab driver is assaulted and propositioned

It was about 3 A.M. on a weeknight. I had driven a bartender home from his work in Silver Lake to West Hollywood. I had not received a trip request for a few minutes as in the middle of the week, drivers tended to outnumber riders at this late hour. Business usually did not pick-up again until about five when people started going to the airport and the early birds started heading off to work.

The night owls were still out preying upon the snakes and rats that crept about the darkness. Even…


Everything is not what we think

Prelude

I was in San Diego which is most always a pleasant place to be. It had been a good weekend thus far. I had gotten a boost when I received a fare for a long trip from Long Beach to Oceanside on Saturday afternoon. After a break on the beach in sunny San Diego, I worked all day Saturday and on through the night until near dawn on Sunday, finally running out of energy after completing an early morning run to the San Diego airport. …


A personal strike against unjust wages and unethical business

Image for post
Image for post
Rideshare Drivers United, an organization of drivers, stands in solidarity at a Prop 22 protest attended by thousands in front of Uber headquarters in San Francisco. Photo by the author.

It worked. Two hundred million dollars bought a law. The rideshare corporations successfully sold a lie to California voters as part of an effort to escape pending litigation over their unethical business practices and their exploitation of workers.

In their campaign, they lied about what their proposal was offering drivers, and they lied to the public in saying that drivers supported their law. A significant block of the driving community was staunchly opposed to their proposition and I guarantee you that more drivers would have opposed it too had they not…


Eternal myth in Monterey

Image for post
Image for post
The sun drops down over the Monterey Bay. Photo by the author.

The pick-up was at the break room. It was good timing because I needed to hit the head and grab a drink from the water cooler. I am being facetious for rideshare drivers do not have a water cooler, nor a break room, which is why it is has been difficult for us to organize as a workforce and collectively fight for our rights against the rideshare corporations that exploit us.

Anyhow...the break room for me at that time was the 7–11 on Fremont Street in Monterey, where I had befriended the guys who worked the…

D. Thayer Russell

Educator and eternal student. Prefer paper pages and overt spines over webpages and covert designs. Avid reader and writer of creative and original content.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store