The 18 Types of Uber Drivers
The company line toed by Uber is that there's no such thing as a typical driver, and we couldn't agree more: there are, in fact, 18 types of Uber drivers, all of which are as unique as snowflakes... or wildly inefficient driving routes. Here's our rundown of the different stereotypes, with sincere apologies to The Guy You Feel Guilty About Giving a Bad Rating.
The Old-School Cabbie
Back when newsie hats were actually new, The Old School Cabbie was happily paying union dues and wishing his dispatcher was less like Danny Devito and more like Tony Danza. He recently purchased a smart phone specifically to "give this new high-tech thing a shot" and so far he actually really enjoys being his own boss, despite constantly complaining about it.
The Silent Type
Also known as The Mime or The Self Driving Car, there's nothing memorable about this guy. Except that he was the greatest driver you've ever had.
You never can be too careful! Nobody wants to sit in the front seat anyway, so this driver fills it with a human safety blanket who is either a relative or a prostitute or both.
A halo of maternal protection encompasses her vehicle, and all who enter feel a womb-like safety, which she reinforces by asking if you're doing okay and honestly caring about the answer. Will passive aggressively grill you about your plans for the evening and reiterate that you should stay safe but have fun BUT STAY SAFE.
The Absent Mind
"That sure is a beautiful sunset," said The Absent Mind, before missing your turn and rolling through a stop sign and flattening a stray cat, only to slam the breaks and realize it wasn't a stray at all, but owned by a woman who is now distraught on the sidewalk while he holds up traffic as she cradles her dead cat in her arms. "But that sure is still a beautiful sunset."
The Guy You Feel Guilty About Giving a Bad Rating
Sure, he accidentally drove three miles in the wrong direction and asked why you're not married, but he's new in town and used the phrase “looking for work” with a downtrodden tone. From the way he talks about his family, you can tell someone is in poor health. Your one-star review might keep him from ever becoming The Happy Family Man, but maybe he'd be a better fit for Lyft?
The GPS Denier
Trust him, he knows how to get there. Don't question his omnipotent understanding of traffic flow and stoplight rhythms and Dick Dastardly shortcuts: This is much faster than the route from Google Maps or Waze or the mouth of a passenger that makes this drive on a daily basis. Wait, why are we driving on railroad tracks?
He dresses impeccably, leased a new hybrid to save on gas, doesn't accept trips under two miles, and sleeps three hours at a time so as to hit every potential surge period. He knows the airline terminals by heart. He's excited to talk about how much money he's making and how his previous career was for suckers, because he's eating steak twice a week now and never looking back. He will burn himself out within three months and be forced to look back.
It's their first day, so you've got no choice but to forgive their nervous violation of basic traffic laws, hermit-level conversational skills, and the way they fumble their phone like a teenager with a bra strap. The ride will end with an awkward handshake and a "see you later".
The Happy Family Man
Also known as Ancestry Dot Com, Mr. It's All For Them, or just Dad, The Happy Family Man will regale you with tales of his wonderful wife Nancy and the 2.5 children who are growing up at a much faster rate than their college funds, so on days when Nancy is working late and the kids are at gymnastics he drives for a few hours and looks forward to hearing about everyone's day once he gets home.
Armed with a stereo system that cost two month's worth of fares, the DJ's main concern is assaulting riders with subgenre of choice, be it psy-trance or doom metal or early aughts emo that he may or may not have just been crying to before you got into the car. His offers to become friends on Spotify are rarely accepted.
The Driver Who Inexplicably Can't Find You
They circled for 15 minutes trying to find you even though you're on an empty corner and slowly turning your illuminated phone side to side like a lonely millennial lighthouse operator. Give it 15 more minutes.
Also known as Mr. Curiosity or The Inquisitor or just Rick, this driver loves Uber because he has an insatiable appetite for learning about other people's lifestyles. The welcoming confines of his Hyundai allow him to pummel passengers with enough questions that by the end of the ride he could accurately guess their debit card pin.
The Obvious Felon
He's got fading tats on his knuckles, a car that smells way too strongly of air freshener, and conversational skills that alternate between sparse and slang-heavy. Don't ask to put anything in his trunk.
The Total Weirdo
This is just the latest in a string of ill-fitting odd jobs that The Total Weirdo treats with a mixture of disdain and amusement. He enjoys awkward silences, mismatched vintage clothing, and making people think that he is on drugs. He considers himself the Hunter S. Thompson of the sharing economy. It's unclear how his vehicle qualified for use, because it definitely doesn't look like a black 2014 Kia Sorrento. When not working, he is usually on drugs. When working, he is usually on drugs too.
The Elevator Pitcher
He's a singer-songwriter or makes artisanal mustache wax, or, worst case scenario, is the non-technical founder of a start-up. He views every fare as a potential fan, or a face of in need of waxing, or, worst case scenario, an investor.
He asks how your night is going, but quickly interrupts to describe his fulfilling social life filled with killer happy hours and co-ed softball teams and close friends who he calls "the crew." Turns out he is just pulling a short shift before heading out to meet up with "the crew," members of which probably aren't aware of that nickname.
The Creepy Pickup Artist
No amount of tiny water bottles could quench this driver's thirst.
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Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. He struggled for two days about how many stars to give The Guy You Feel Guilty About Giving a Bad Rating. Follow him to honest reviews at @Dannosphere.