Rideshare Drivers, keep your cool.
It’ll happen. You’ll give a ride to a passenger who is less than friendly and/or cooperative. Your instinct might be to react. Don’t. Never feed the trolls.
There is a video floating around on social media showing a driver who completely loses it with his passenger. She (the passenger) seemingly remains calm as she records his entire tirade. If you’re interested, you can watch the video here. Now, there is no way to know what happened before he lost his mind, but likely that won’t matter to Uber. He’s probably lost his job. You don’t want to be that guy.
Typically, Uber will side with the passengers and fire drivers if there has been some type of altercation. The truth is there are thousands of drivers so one who can’t keep his or her calm is basically disposable. Uber has a rep to maintain and they aren’t about to let drivers ruin that rep.
That doesn’t mean we’re unsympathetic to drivers. Traffic, long driving hours, difficult passengers are all part of the job. It’s not an easy job but the thing you must remember as a driver is that you are responsible for maintaining control of a bad situation. The way to do that is to NOT scream and yell at your passenger. Do not escalate the situation with reckless behavior. Stay cool. Cool like Fonzie.
What do you do if there is an emergency? You’ve been asked to take someone to the emergency room (as the woman in the video) and because you’re not a paramedic trained for this type of position, you may find it a bit stressing. The best thing to do is to again, remain calm and simply drive your passenger to their requested destination – the ER. Not the parking lot of the hospital, not another building but to the door of the ER.
Now, given that Uber and Lyft consider drivers independent contractors, the fact is if you are driving the car you own then it is your property. You should have the right to ask (nicely) a passenger to leave your vehicle. What do you do if a passenger refuses to get out? Scream and yell? No. Call 911? Maybe. What you want to keep in mind is that if an argument begins and continues, it could cost you your job.
Protect yourself! Have a dash cam in your car and have it running the entire time you’re toting a passenger. Some states have laws regarding this as it can be construed as a privacy issue so make your passengers aware you’ve got the cam.
The bottom line is you want to avoid altercations. There are some things to remember that will help:
Become a pro at reading people. Call your passenger before you pick them up. Get a read on them. If you sense stress or if you hear complaining before you’ve even picked them up, this might not be a person you wish to give a ride to. You do have the option of cancelling the trip but too many cancellations could get you in trouble. That’s why it’s important to learn to read people’s emotions and moods.
Don’t start the trip if you feel a passenger might be trouble. If they are in your car it is much harder to cancel the trip. Avoid that and simply don’t let them in.
Choose the easier way. If you’ve got a passenger who is arguing with you about their destination (as the woman in the video), simply take a deep breath, make the easy choice and drive him or her to where they ask to go. Don’t fight it.