UBER Chronicles

Adventure With Deborah

I wanted to take an Uber from Naperville back to the city, but I thought I should be fiscally responsible and take a train to Chicago and then take the Uber back from Union Station. I ordered the Uber when I arrived. I tried to contact the driver only to find that the option to call him was not available; I could only send him a text. I informed him that I was visually impaired and standing by the curb. Just to make sure, I also told him that visually impaired meant that I could not see.

As I waited, a guy in his 20s came up to me and told me that he was homeless and freezing and starving. He asked if I had any money on me. The guy sounded young. I had a dollar in my pocket, but something told me this guy was a fake, and I just told him that I didn’t have any cash. He walked off and began swearing loudly, telling anyone who would listen that he was going to “fucking die out here.”

This is why I hate coming to Union Station after rush-hour; there’s always these annoying characters hanging about. I decided to send another message to the Uber driver asking him if he got my previous message and reminding him that I was visually impaired which meant that I could not see, and that I was standing by the curb in front of the station. The cold was beginning to get aggravating, and my hand which had been frostbitten last year was starting to remind me what frostbite felt like. I wanted to send my Uber driver a third text as I was starting to get pissed off. As I was navigating through the app I noticed a message that informed me that my driver was deaf or hard of hearing. This explains why I didn’t have the option to call him, but it didn’t explain why he wasn’t returning my text. I sent him a tersely worded text informing him how rude I thought it was that he was not responding. Of course, it did no good as he still didn’t respond. After waiting for 15 minutes in the cold, I finally decided to pay my three dollars and cancel the trip. I would send the Uber team a message explaining the situation when I got back home.

At this point I was pissed off, which entitles me to a cigarette, I believe. Although with the annoying characters hanging out at union station that meant someone was going to come up and ask me if they could have one of mine. I ordered another Uber and was informed that the driver was eight minutes away. I kept checking my phone in hopes that maybe he would beat the time that had been predicted. Unfortunately, he didn’t, but when I went to call him I noticed that I was being given another driver who was deaf or hard of hearing. What are the chances? I figured it would be pointless to send another text message, so I asked a woman who I heard near me if she saw a white Toyota. She informed me that she couldn’t tell the difference between cars. She said she saw a white vehicle but didn’t think that was the Uber. She told me she could only tell the cars by license plate numbers, so I gave her the license plate number to my Uber only to find out that was the license plate number to the Uber she was waiting for as well. At this point a cop came over and asked if I was Brian, I said yes, and he told me that my Uber was on the other side of the street. So my new friend Deborah and I went over and got in the car. It turns out that the Uber driver was lying, he was not hard of hearing, but he could not speak English at all. He had a really hard time understanding that Deborah and I had found each other and then came to the Uber together so that he did not need to wait for Deborah. Eventually he figured it out, and we drove off to pick up our next passenger. In broken English, he asked Deborah if she could read the app on his phone, because he didn’t understand what the text had said, or where our next passenger was. Deborah decided to call the passenger and ask her where she was. We had to give the driver directions, because the GPS never works when you’re downtown in the Loop.

As a blind person, I make it a policy to not criticize others driving, because I always assume they’re doing a better job than I could. However, by the amount of horns I heard as we would pull into intersections and make turns, I got the feeling that our driver was possibly not the best at this. Eventually, we found Kate, our third passenger. Deborah was talking about how much she loved Uber pools because they always tended to be some kind of adventure, “Someone could write a blog post about this ride.” I had to agree with her and decided I wasn’t going to pitch a fit about the three dollar charge from the previous canceled trip.

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