Rideshare Drivers Spill 10 Outrageous Stories From Driving in New York City

It's almost instinct to swipe when you need a ride. But thank goodness you don't know what's been happening in the car that picks you up, drivers say.

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Michele Dottin, driving Uber for 2 years, 4nmonths : “It was icy in winter, I sat there waiting for this [passenger]....andnthis guy came to me and said wait, I'm just getting something from the store.”

“[he came back and] he said, “All right, take off...there's another cab who is asking me for cash...can you lose him?” I'm like, “Are you serious?”

“So I'm driving and trying to avoid this man...I pulled into a dark spot and turned off my light and got these kids to a really fancy home in Suffolk County.”


Athanasios Tsakalos, driving Uber for one-and-a-half years : “He wanted to smoke in myncar. It was a late evening, and he was pretty drunk. I told him that he cannot,nand just to get back at me he lit a cigarette and as he ran out of thenvehicle, he burned a couple holes in my seats. Which was very wrong of him andnunfair. But that’s what happens when you’re involved in this industry.”


Manny Ramirez*, driving Uber, Juno, Lyft for 3 years : “I had two young ladies and it was late, liken1 o'clock on a Saturday. They threw up in the car. I didn’t notice, they didn’tnsay anything, they got out the car. They had tried to throw up outside of thencar but it went both inside and out and it hit the door handle. I picknup the next passenger, and [the man] grabbed it, opening it for his girlfriendnand had a handful of somebody else’s vomit. I usuallynalways keep a bag also...you got to.”

Rana: “Sometimes I pull up to the customer and they are literally lying down on the sidewalk with their friends. If you need to throw up tell us so we can stop the car so you can throw up.”

*name changed


Tsalakos: “I was driving in Astoria, Queens,nand I picked up this lady that was in labor. [She was] with herntwo-year-old daughter and she was telling me how to drive her to the hospitalnas quickly as possible because she’s due...I was pretty much thinking tonmyself, “Why didn’t she call an ambulance?.” But of course she didn’t expect itnto come out as quickly so I’m going fast, driving, passing lights.

“I get on the BQE, and of course the BQE isncompletely horrendous when it comes to traffic. So she told me her water broke,nI pull over to the side, right away called 911. They’re going over on the phonenwith me -- you know in case the baby does come out -- what to do, thenprocedure, if I have any sharp objects in my car, any scissors or knife in casenI have to cut the umbilical cord. But as I told them, I’m just a driver, Indon’t carry any of these types of weapons in my car. I’m not trying to killnanyone.

“I put the two-year-old daughter in my frontnseat and everything just started happening so fast. Turns out the baby was alsonbreech, so it made the situation more dangerous…the baby was coming out I cannsee the legs, I can see the hands, the stomach, I was just holding it andnpraying somebody would come to my rescue…it was really crazy. A highway patrolnofficer luckily came by and he had some experience.”


Sohail Rana, driving Uber and Lyft for 4 years :n“People have sexual incidents in the car while you're driving. One time I feltnlike they just had a date in the car, like, there is no hotel, why would I paynfor that? Sometimes you just have to stop and look and ask, “You guys okay?”nIt's not allowed in the car.

Sometimes when [passengers] are drunk at nightntime they want to hug you and kiss you and you have to let them know they can'tndo that.”


Tsakalos : “The thing which pisses me off thenmost is that even though you please the customer as much as you can, you donwhat you can to make their ride as happy as it can be, the fact that there’s nontipping…”

“You would do so much to please the customer,nyou let them play their music, you give them a phone charger, you carry outntheir luggage -- and they don’t tip. That’s very wrong and I speak for prettynmuch all the drivers in NYC, this is a service… and 99% will not tip.


Rana : “I always check my car, and couple ridesnthere is white powder in the back, and once I found a little packet with whitenpowder. Please don't leave the stuff in my car because I can be stopped andnquestioned. I know it's not their intention to leave a packet, I don't know hownmuch it costs [laughs].

“Couple times I had people dealing drugs,nmaking deliveries in the city.”


Tsakalos : “Drivers work like dogs. [The rideshare companies] really found a way to take control of everything….you’re tired, you don’t eat right you don’t sleep right....I waste two to three hoursna day looking for parking.I [pee in the street], honestly, I’m not going to lie.

Ramirez:“If I sleep in the car I could make $250 anday….what I do is I go through the airport and I put my chair back and I take annap.”


Dottin : [The worst thing a passenger has done was they] left a dirty diaper. Not just in the back, but under my seat so I wouldn’t see it. I was like, “What’s that smell?” (sniff, sniff).


Johann Nijman, driving car service, Uber, Lyft, Juno since 1992: “I’m on the corner of Park Slope and SouthnStreet, and I stop at a light, [the passenger] said “Sir, you could make anright” I said “No ma’am you can’t,” ...she said, “No you could do it.” I saidn“Ma’am you can't, please Google it.”

“Next thing I know, I tried to go to work, butnUber is sending me a note saying, ”Hey, listen, somebody said something aboutnyou, we have to investigate it, so you won't be able to work, you’ll hear fromnus in 48 hours.

“Two days after, they say “Ok you can drive.” Insay, “Wait a minute, so if I am a partner, you gonna take my livelihoodnwhenever you feel like because a customer say something, without hearing fromnme?” And the next thing they send me $100, but I lost you know...if I sleep innthe car I could make $250 a day.”

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