A tardy friend redeems himself, the firefly rescuer, and why driving behind massive trucks is scary

We’ve got a couple of father daughter stories in the line-up today! See “A Good Caring Dad” (the first in my Uber Eats series), and “The Frog and the Unsuspecting Firefly” (also part of a recurring series, “Passengers Speak Spanish”).

#Lyft Thoughts explores the anxiety of driving behind big trucks with lots of items jostling around in their behinds, while in #Lyft Dream, passengers and I flee a foreboding earthquake (then again, when are earthquakes ever not foreboding?).

Buckle up and enjoy the read!

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#Lyft Quote

“I would feel guilty for showing up late, and then I would buy the people I was dining with lunch or dinner to make up for it. That plan depleted my savings pretty quickly. Therapy and learning time management skills ended up being cheaper than all the meals I was paying for to repent.”

–A male 30-something passenger

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# Passengers Speak Spanish: The frog and the unsuspecting firefly.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is frogcatchfly.png

A father and his daughter (who I guess to be about five years old) are watching a nature video on the dad’s phone. In it, he explains to me later in the ride, a firefly sits perched atop the green leaf of a pond-side plant, tranquil and nonchalant. All of a sudden a frog leaps out from the water, ensnaring the unsuspecting firefly in its fully extended long coil of a tongue.

The little girl says: “Voy a tener una luciérnaga como una mascota algún día para protegerla… para que una rana no la coma” (“I’m going to have a firefly as a pet one day to protect it…so that a frog doesn’t eat it”). 

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#Uber Eats Story: A Good Caring Dad.

A man who lives on the ninth floor of an apartment complex in downtown San Francisco has asked if I can bring his food up to him. 

Usually I get annoyed when customers living in busy metro areas ask me to do this. 

For one, because it’s a gamble. Parking is often extremely limited if not impossible to find, so in order to accommodate the request, delivery cars must double park and risk getting ticketed. 

Two, because we’ve already done most of the work for them— driven to the restaurant, picked up the food, transported it to their address. All that’s really expected of them now is the small task of walking outside to fetch it.

This man, though, has explained to me that he is looking after his “infant daughter.” If I brought the food up to him, he says, it would help him out a lot.

Now if he were a young and privileged white techie, to whom daily Uber Eats deliveries cost what school teachers and social workers pay for weekly candy bars, then I’d for sure be annoyed. When I take this man’s circumstances into account though, empathy and compassion replace annoyance and resentment.

I don’t see or hear any infant daughter, but I do smell weed

And so I leave my car to go deliver this young single dad and his daughter their sustenance.

“I’m dropping off an Uber delivery. Ninth floor,” I say to the concierge after walking in.

“Go straight down the hall to the elevators and take elevator B,” he tells me.

After walking over, I wait by the sleek metal doors. They’re those fancy modern ones that don’t have any buttons on the outside (the concierge operates and controls them from behind his desk). 

Once I’ve arrived at the customer’s apartment, I knock on the door—firmly enough for him to hear me, but lightly enough not to startle or rattle his infant daughter in case she’s sleeping.

 Smiling squintily, Young Dad opens the door.

A naked woman bolts from one room to the other in the background. I swear it’s not his daughter unless, at “5.10,” that infant’s pulling some real ‘Jack‘ shit. (*Robin Williams movie from the ’90s)

I don’t see or hear any infant daughter, but I do smell weed. A lot of it. Bud Lights are stacked into a 16-can pyramid on the black marble counter behind him. Economical toys for his daughter? Or maybe an attempt to habituate her to beer when she’s real young so that she’ll lose all taste for it by the time she’s older.

Young Dad also seems to have a cold, or maybe he’s experiencing an allergic reaction to something, which is probably why he ordered a (this when I look inside the bag)…double bacon cheeseburger. 

Driving around afterwards I find myself writing Young Dad a manual in my head. The title is How to Lie more Convincingly.

Here are some excerpts:

*At least consider putting on an apron after splashing some milk, applesauce, or baby food onto it.

*At least consider placing a tricycle or large stuffed pony within eyesight of duped delivery person.

*At least consider asking the naked woman to remain inside the sex room while the delivery’s being made.

And if the first three aren’t feasible, then: 

*At least consider tipping aforementioned duped delivery person.

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#Lyft Thoughts: Why driving behind big trucks is anxiety-provoking.

TERRIFYING.

Anyone else get nervous driving behind big clunky trucks that are carrying a bunch of items? I know I do.

Whether those items are tennis balls, farm animals, piles of horse poop, or a giant metal weapon-like apparatus that looks like a shark’s tail (yes, I did actually see that in the back of a truck once), my mind pictures them breaking loose and pummeling towards my window. 

I picture tomatoes splattering my windshield. Tennis balls cracking the glass. 

To the chairs unsteadily positioned one atop another in the back of one truck, I once asked: “What’s stopping you from shaking free and hitting me in the face?” (The answer: a string. A single string).

This is what I’m afraid might happen to me if I were to remain behind a big truck

 Most ominous by far are the huge trucks that transport multiple cars stacked on top of each other in rows. The stack looks so precarious. I envision them all just breaking loose and forming a multiple car pile-up, against which my little Toyota Corolla would stand no chance. 

Nowadays, every time I notice I’m driving behind one of them, I simply change lanes. I privately give them permission to do their thing—”spill your tomatoes onto the next car. Mine just won’t be the one getting the juice bath today.”

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#Lyft Dream: Earthquake in the Forecast

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake is predicted to hit this coming Saturday, and all Bay Area residents have been instructed to leave town.

“The big one we’ve all been expecting,” says one of the passengers I’ve just accepted a request from. “It’s finally coming.” 

How had the experts managed to predict it? I wonder. Now that they had, would anyone stay in the Bay? Who in their right mind would? But then where would everyone go?

The answer for these passengers is Nebraska. They want me to drive them there.

“Why Nebraska?” I ask them.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake was in the forecast for that weekend

“It’s safe. It’s flat,” the man explains. “It’s closer than Kansas. And they don’t have earthquakes over there.”

The woman adds: “You might want to think about staying there after dropping us off.”

Soon after depositing them at their destination, I receive a request from a young man and his girlfriend, who want to be driven to California.

“We hear there’s an earthquake in the forecast. I want to be there to take photographs. This could be the jumpstart my career’s been waiting for.”

“Or the end of it,” his girlfriend says. “I keep telling him not to go. It isn’t safe.”

“Babe most positive changes require great risks. In order to get your big break sometimes you gotta risk giving something up, like maybe even your life.”

His girlfriend complains that he’s willing to bargain with hers too. The man apologizes and tries reassuring her that her life is worth a great deal to him, and she can stay behind if she really wants to.

Not long after, I wake up.

*Check back soon for more Lyft stories! You can also follow our IG @Lyft_Tales

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Photo credits

Biff– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPWcV9KMIEU

Cars — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_carrier_trailer

Published by esteph42190

A 30-year-old queer bilingual writer born and raised in the Bay Area, I’ve been writing since before I knew how to spell. Balancing my generative energy with a desire to inform, as a child I printed and distributed to classmates publications that included The News Newsletter and Health Digest (ironic considering I also ran an illicit candy business that landed me in the principal’s office several times). As a student at UC Davis I wrote for The California Aggie, with pieces ranging from an exploration of gender roles in the movie Tangled to my own weekly psychology column. After graduating I kept a bilingual blog of my 14 months living in Montevideo, Uruguay, and upon returning continued to blog about social issues and human psychology.

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