Convention Stories: Mishaps with Uber

Over the course of my travels I’ve made numerous trips using the handy Uber app, I use Uber more than Lyft usually, and for the most part, the trips are the same. You do the song and dance where you find your driver and then silently go to your destination and we give each other five stars and wish each other well. I absolutely love these trips and enjoy the convenience that they offer. Then you have the stories where something unusual happens and I’ve had quite a number of those experiences.

Our first story happened at C2E2 2020, this occurred before the lockdowns started, and my group was done and ready to go back to the hotel. Now to set the scene it was rather cold and very uncomfortable and we were at a convention center that had a handy pick-up area where drivers could pull over on the right side to pick up passengers and then move over to the left to resume driving. We have been waiting for about 20 minutes for our driver but we expected as much as traffic was bad. However, what we did not expect was a text telling us to jump in the car as soon as she got there because she was not stopping at the curb. Obviously, we were not a fan of this idea but after 20 minutes of waiting in the cold we weren’t up to disagreeing so we waited and sure enough she stopped in the middle of the driving area and we rushed to get in to avoid holding up traffic. Now we thought that was the end of the unusual circumstances but then the driver asks us if we knew why the roads in Chicago were complicated. Naturally, we had no idea. She proceeded to explain that the politicians kept it that way to confuse the masses, all this did was confuse us. Then the conversation switched to something about the Illuminati and at that point, it was hard to keep up with everything being discussed and I lost all sense of what we were talking about. Luckily the drive was short and when we got to the hotel we thanked her for her time and made no further effort to try and piece together what just happened.

Let’s now fast forward to something more recent as I talk about a trip that happened at Anime Expo 2022. Now, this trip wasn’t specifically related to the convention but we were in LA for the event and just did stuff on the side. We were on our way back from playing put-put golf at a castle. We called a ride and proceeded to head back as normal but it was quickly revealed this trip would be unusual. First, the driver ran past a red light on the way to the interstate which had a camera on it so I felt for the guy as that would have easily been more than the price of the trip plus a tip. However, then the driver started trying to pass cars on the road narrowly missing them as he would make one lane change after another making a strange grunt/moan which each lane change. We were just hoping maybe the driver was having a bad day and we managed to make it back to our hotel with no issues but the unorthodox nature of the driver is something we would remember for a while.

Finally, let us work our way back to 2018 to New York Comic Con. My group was done with the event for the day and we decided to do a little bit of site seeing at Rockefeller Plaza before it got dark. To save time we opted for an Uber to take us which was priced at $12. The problem came when the driver seemed to struggle to stay in the lane that would eventually make it easy to turn where we wanted to go which forced us to make a big rectangle around the plaza where the northmost side of the rectangle was right before you get to central park. Now while we were frustrated we understand driving in NYC is difficult so we were under the assumption that something was going on that we didn’t know about which made him have to do the lane changes. A 20-minute trip sadly took two hours and it ate up most of the time we had. We decided to give up the site seeing and just grab a bite to eat and go back to the hotel. That was when I got the notice for the bill which was over $90, now I was pretty shocked to see this and realized something was wrong right away when I saw the map. Remember we never went further north than the southern entrance to Central Park this was how I was able to figure out that the driver charged us for driving after we got out of the car as the final destination was a location several miles past the entrance to the park, which is very easy to spot in the map provided by Uber. I was pretty frustrated to find that the driver not only cost us part of our trip but then proceeded to cost me money on a ride I wasn’t even a part of. I immediately messaged Uber thinking it would be a process to explain and prove the driver was in the wrong, but it actually wasn’t. The next day Uber stated I would be refunded most of the money down to the original quoted price of the trip, which I got very quickly. So while we did miss out on some cool stuff I at least didn’t get taken for quite a bit of money in the process.

Now thankfully stories like these are far from the norm with trips using Uber. I would say for every 10 or so trips I’ve taken only one would have something that made it worth remembering. In these cases the trips were stressful but I also plan on doing one where the trips were better than I expected at some point.

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