My Craziest Uber Story
On occasion, someone asks me to tell them my craziest Uber story. I don’t feel that I really have one, which begs the question, how do we define “crazy story”? One person’s outrageous might be another’s normal, so this is all subjective anyway. I don’t find the following tale particularly “crazy” in that I don’t find it unbelievable, maybe because I was there, or maybe because I’m simply not easily shocked, surprised or offended.
In any case, this is perhaps my most unusual story to date. It happened while driving for Lyft, not Uber, but because they are essentially the same entity in both theory and action, the context is also essentially the same. I don’t remember the specific dates, but it was definitely before Mardi Gras, probably in January, and it isn’t exactly my story. At least it didn’t happen to my passengers so much as it was passenger adjacent to me.
My Craziest Uber Story
Friday Night, Around 1 AM
I picked up two middle-aged passengers in the French Quarter, a husband and wife. They used to live here, they told me, and that one or two of their children were born here but they’ve lived elsewhere for the past twenty years or so. They were in town visiting their son, who is a student at Tulane, if I remember correctly. They were headed uptown to a house on Magazine Street a few blocks north of Le Bon Temps Roule, so we had several minutes to chat. They were pleasant to talk with, though I can’t recall anything extraordinary about the conversation, though it continued after I pulled up to their drop off point, which is why the doors were still locked when a young woman grabbed the handle and tried to open the back passenger side door.
I rolled the front passenger window down a few inches and said to her, “I’m sorry sweetheart, this isn’t your car.” It was then that I noticed her face from below her nose and over her chin was bloody. When she stumbled back from the car and crossed the street in front of us, I could see in the headlights that her knees were also bloody. She was wearing strappy sandal heels and a short, pleated skirt. Likely, I guessed, she fell on the concrete.
Now, for those of you not intimately familiar with this part of town, it’s technically the Garden District, or maybe it’s just Uptown - I have yet to figure out exact delineations myself and I think many of them may not be universally agreed upon. Point being, this is a quiet neighborhood, mostly residential, mostly white, mostly single or double occupied homes, not apartment buildings. Magazine Street is populated with businesses, but fewer along this stretch. It’s tree-lined and lit by street lamps at night. The sidewalks, like the streets, are fairly pockmarked and uneven, making it tricky for a sober person to navigate, and this bloody girl was definitely not sober. I’d say she was trashed.
“Oh, no,” I said. “She’s not okay.” The couple in the back seat realized the same and the woman immediately said, “We have to help her.” The husband was not so keen to get involved, but they got out of the car and walked to her on the corner where she was struggling to stand up straight. I got another ping and accepted the ride, apologizing for not helping them. Rationally, I thought there was nothing more for me to do. The girl stumbled backward on her heels and fell to the ground as they approached. I watched them help her stand up again as I drove off.
My next passengers filled the vehicle with laughter and high spirits. I picked them up at Le Bon Temps Roule and shuttled them off to their next party spot further down Magazine. I’m a verbal processor so I wasted no time telling the crew what had just happened. As soon as I started to describe the passengers - a married couple in their early 60s - the woman in the front passenger seat interrupted, “And they asked you to be a third.” This made me laugh, which was exactly what I needed, because in my head I was already weighing the consequences of my actions, or non action, and wondering what my role in this situation should be. I was already thinking about what the right thing to do would be had I been alone and spotted her, or if she had called the car and was my passenger. I did not want a bloody stranger getting into my car, but you can’t leave an injured human, much less a shit faced woman, on the dark street alone in this world without having some consequence of conscience. Or can you?
I wondered where her friends were. I wondered if there was high drama or if it was a just a drunken fall. I settled on the latter, in part because I know how well and how quickly I can write fiction in my head about people’s thoughts and doings without any evidence at all. And she didn’t seem particularly distressed, just intoxicated and bloody.
Saturday Night, Around 11PM
The following night I responded to a ping in the French Quarter on Decatur Street near Esplanade. When I looked at the drop-off point as they were getting in the car, it struck me as familiar, an address on the 5000 block of Magazine Street. It was the same couple from the previous evening. When I pointed this out the woman was visibly excited to have gotten the same driver two nights in a row. Yes, that’s fun, and it’s happened before. At least twice I’ve picked up the same people twice in the same evening. But I quickly quieted her enthusiasm with my own curiosity. I needed to know, What the fuck happened with that bloody girl?!
The woman said the girl didn’t want their help, that she was extremely intoxicated but resistant to their assistance. They walked her across the street to Henry’s Bar and asked the bartender if he recognized her. He did not. She kept telling them she just needed to call her brother, which she was trying to do as she fumbled with her phone. So they sat with her, and eventually a Chevy Suburban, presumably her brother, raced up, nearly jumping the curb, the woman said. The girl got into the backseat and they sped off.
“There was so much blood on her face,” I said. “I wonder if she lost a tooth.”
“She lost a tooth,” the man said. “Or maybe it was missing before.”
“I doubt it,” I said with uninformed certainty.