Always looking for an excuse to be out on the road, I signed up to be an Uber driver. Excited to drive, I got started without knowing exactly how to make it all work. Needless to say, my first few rides were trial and error. It’s only been two days, but I like it!
There’s nothing like driving in a new town and meeting new people. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved riding in the car looking out the window. Despite being cramped in the back of our family station wagon, I imagined myself going on adventures, sharing my make-believe stories as we traveled down the road.
My First Day Jitters
The first day arrived with a tad bit of anxiety. Nothing like getting turned around at the airport and then frustrated for taking over twenty minutes to locate the Uber staging area. I only had the rider’s first name, and not a specific pickup spot; so I had to circle around twice before finding my second passenger. Thankfully, she was patient with me.
I found some riders were willing to engage in a conversation, while others sat quietly in my back seat. Either way was fine with me. During the quiet time, I am usually sing praise songs to myself, being careful so my passengers don’t hear me.
A Hidden Prejudice Revealed
It’s a joy to meet people from all walks of life; along with learning about our differences and hearing their stories. But, to be honest, I got slightly nervous when I saw three black teenagers approach my car for a ride. It wasn’t anything they said or did, but a terrible stereotype playing in my head. I had already judged them as troublemakers before they got in the car. Having this perception about them really upset me because I don’t like it when others make judgments about me as a Christian gay. At least I was able to recognize my hidden prejudice before refusing them a ride. I do my best to love and accept everyone no matter who they are or where they live.
By the end of the ride, I sensed they were nice kids. I was surprised when we ended up at the courthouse (Uber provides only the destination address). I said a silent prayer as they exited the car, hoping everything for them would be okay.
The entire experience has proven that I always need to be aware of my thoughts and be sensitive not to prejudge others. I would want the same consideration. Perhaps we all need to give others the benefit of the doubt and look past their outward appearance before forming an opinion. We should take the time to truly get to know them — their heart and their mind.
A New Way To Serve
It feels good to help people get to where they want to be and make some money at the same time. When I am providing a service to others, it feels like I am using my God-given gifts. My true passion is to share my life experiences through writing. So earning extra money supports my dream while still giving me the flexibility to do what I enjoy. Does this sound like something you would like to do? Click here to learn more.
The Kindness of Strangers
Recently when I attended Charlotte’s pride festival, I caught an Uber ride back to my church. That was cool! It was my first time being at the receiving end of the service. I sat in the passenger’s seat wearing a few rainbow-colored necklaces, and had a nice conversation with the female driver. I asked her a few questions about driving, like what she enjoyed about it and how long she had been doing it. She was very open and willing to share her advice (a lot like I try to be). She never made me feel uncomfortable or awkward about how I was dressed, nor where she picked me up from. It was a good experience.
Revealing Myself to Others
As an Uber driver, I’m learning to start friendly conversations with strangers. If they ask about me, I’m happy to share part of my life with them, including my excitement over my latest book, The Call to Soar.
With plenty of good people in the world, it is worth the risk to share your experiences with others because that is how you learn. As long as those involved are receptive to having a conversation, we can begin to grow more comfortable with one another. Remember each person has their own unique beliefs, and even some of our external differences are not always apparent either. We can learn a lot from each other, as long as we’re willing to listen.
If you’re interested in meeting new people, or making money giving them a ride – sign up here.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, Confessions of an Uber Driver: Part 2.
Have you discovered a hidden prejudice within yourself? If so, how did you discover it and what did you do about it? Comment below.