Columbus After Dark: True tales of Uber Drivers

Erin Edwards

If you're a late-night Uber driver, your strategy is often to be at the corner of Vine and Park streets at 1:45 a.m. on a Sunday, because that's when and where the bars burp up a horde of potential passengers. That is, as long as you're willing to put up with drunks who forget their addresses and leave you with measly $4 fares and soiled upholstery.

Ali Abdalla:It takes a lot of patience. You don't have patience, you don't survive Uber. People drink a lot. Let me show you something. (Ali pulls out his cell phone to share pictures.) One girl, she was sitting here (motions to passenger seat). She was drinking a lot, and then she peed here. I swear to God, she don't say even, "Excuse me." I don't feel it until she was home. She dropped an ID here. I go to pick it up, and I feel it quickly. Wet. And I say, "What's this?" Many people, if I tell them, they say, 'No way.' "

Julius M:I used to drive at night until like 2 a.m. I just didn't like driving at night because of being tired the whole time. Once you leave at 2 a.m., then you don't wake up until 11 a.m., noon. You are always tired. I may drive for another month, and then I may stop. I don't think it's worth the time; there's no money in it. Uber is like Wal-Mart. You can drive for eight hours and not make $50.

Mohamed N.:I like daytime better than night, for sure. Dealing with sober people is much better than dealing with drunk people. It's hard to find them sometimes. You call them, like, "Hey where are you guys?" and they don't know where they are. How you want me to pick you up, man, you know? But sometimes it's fun, too. Fun stories from the girls-the way they talk about men, it's just funny. People, when they get drunk, they get funnier, and some people, if they are mean, they get meaner, too. But Uber job, I like it. That's life, nothing's easy. -As told to Erin Edwards