My Uber driver ignored me and blasted loud music: I tipped her $50

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I love gig workers like DoorDashers and Uber drivers. They provide a valuable service, and I appreciate the work they do. That's why I always try to give them the biggest tip I can afford.

It saddens me that some people don't tip their drivers. I've eaten dinner at restaurants where my dinner companion refused to tip the server. It's embarrassing. Yes, I always over-tipped in those situations, but my hefty tip shouldn't go to compensating for someone else's skimpy tip. My tip should stand on its own.

That brings me to the Uber ride I took at midnight earlier this week. After taking an ambulance to the hospital emergency room, spending twelve hours there, and being discharged at midnight, I needed a ride home. I wasn't too worried about it because of Uber. In the past, I would have waited hours for a cab. Monday night, I got a ride in eight minutes.

There wasn't a license plate on the front of the car, so I circled around to check the license plate on the back. It was a match. I climbed into the rear passenger seat and explained that I was just checking the license plate number; I was met with silence.

I told the driver my name and thanked her for picking me up from the hospital at midnight. Once again, my words were met with silence.

The driver replaced the silence with loud, loud music of my least favorite variety, and that's how she drove me home, music blaring.

I kept reminding myself how lucky I was to have a ride home from the hospital at midnight. The journey home took us past long and winding roads, unlit by street lamps. I could imagine how unpleasant the drive must be for her.

If listening to music helped get her through her workday and long drives down unfamiliar roads, who was I to complain? So I didn't.

We didn't speak until she pulled up to my back door.

"Thank you for the ride," I said. "I tipped you fifty bucks in the app." I would have tipped cash, but I didn't have any. It was a $38 fare, for reference.

Her eyes widened. "You did?" she asked. "Thank you so much. Tonight is my first night driving for Uber."

"You deserve every penny," I told her, and she did. She was an excellent driver and incredibly nice, once she actually spoke, and if it wasn't for her, I don't know how I would have gotten home that night.

One of my best friends worked as an Uber driver. According to her, people rarely tip at all. When they do, it's usually only a few dollars, with the occasional twenty thrown in when she drove people home from the airport.

Also, I think it's good to listen to difference kinds of music once in a while, but perhaps not after spending half a day in the hospital.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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