Some of the best conversations I’ve had in my life have been while taking an Uber ride. Having convos with people who drive on Uber sit up there with smokers’ area convos and backyard bonfire convos at a house party (ugh remember those?). God tier human exchanges man.
They witness us at our best, at our worst, and at our downright most vulnerable. So, in the interest of education, we asked a few Uber legends to share some anecdotes from their travels.
Nathan, 32, Brisbane
I have a lot of interesting stories revolving around the Tesla I use when driving on Uber, most people I pick up have never set foot in a Tesla before so it’s always interesting to see how they react. But I think my best story has to be the time I randomly picked up Kevin Rudd.
It was 2018 and I was up driving on Uber in the Sunshine Coast for a bit of change compared to my normal Brisbane area. I remember it was roughly 7pm and I received a request from a passenger, “Kevin”. When I arrived at the location, I found the complex was gated, Kevin called me and told me how to get the access gate open, that’s when I knew it was him — just over the phone. I was amazed, never in my time driving did I think I would be driving someone who was once in power of the entire country — very cool.
Of course, we are all humans at the end of the day, but still, I couldn’t help but be excited to be driving the former PM and his wife to their dinner plans. And here’s the weirder bit — my mum looked after his kids back in 1995 for family daycare, so turned out we already had a connection!
Catia, 46, Melbourne
Back in 2018 I picked up Prince‘s sister, Tyka Nelson, and drove her from a concert to her hotel room. I accepted a trip picking up three passengers from the ABC studios in Southbank to the Channel 9 studio in Toorak. I pull up, and in jump Tyka, her husband, and her manager.
Tyka’s manager had arranged an interview by phone during the ride in which she was talking about her visit and why she was in Australia, and talking about her brother’s legacy, and her tribute show to Prince. It was a really surreal experience, listening to Tyka talk about Prince in my car was so cool and such a privilege.
After her interview ended, I spoke with Tyka about how it was for me listening to her talk about such an icon as her brother Prince, I also asked if I could have a picture taken with her in which she was so happy to do, she was so lovely and friendly. I’ve also driven Natalie Imbruglia to a restaurant, and also several football players so it’s been an interesting journey!
Patrick, 29, Adelaide
I started driving on Uber because I’m primarily a musician and the flexibility to fit around my existing work was quite appealing to me. It’s happened more than once that I’ve picked someone up on the way to, or one the way home from a gig.
So it’s Saturday night and I’ve gone to the bar to see a gig. I finished pretty early, and so I jump in my car and I do a lap, and I straightaway pick up someone at the front of the venue that I’ve just been at. It was this guy that I had seen at the gig. The guy gets into my car and I put his wheelchair in the back. And we start chatting about the gig that he’s just seen and I sort of say “Hey I was there too”. We have a bit of a chat about it, and I drop him home and I think that’s it.
Then a couple of months later, I just get a random trip request from the same guy. I have this lovely old chat, and drive him home. He makes this comment about the stairs at the bottom of the driveway. And I’m sitting there going, “What have you got stairs for, don’t you have a ramp?” And he goes, “Oh no, we don’t have a ramp. We’ve just gotta go over these stairs every day.” But it stuck in the back of my head.
About a week goes by. I was talking to a friend of mine about it, and she says “Well, why don’t you go and offer to build him a ramp or something?” And I go, “I can’t just turn up to his house.” And then as it turns out, about a week after, I get him again, fourth time in my car. And so I pitched this idea to him. I come over and have a little bit of a visit, and we look at these stairs and, as it turns out, just by being there, and talking and brainstorming about it, we sort out the problem with his access to his house. I’ve been able to build this friendship with this guy from picking him up three or four times.
Alexandra, 41, Sydney
So it was just an ordinary day. I went to my next pick up location, didn’t see anybody around, and I was just waiting anxiously for this person to hurry up and come out. I’m thinking, should I cancel — and that’s when I looked out the window and I see this lady, heavily pregnant, coming towards my car, and I thought oh my god she’s in labour.
She’s holding her belly, her husband’s holding on to her. And so we started driving and I looked and there was just peak hour traffic. At one point I look through the rearview mirror and there I see mum visibly in pain — heavy breathing, husband just looked terrified, but I was just constantly trying to reassure the mother to just breathe. “I’ll get through this traffic, don’t worry, I’m a very good driver.”
So we pulled up at the hospital, everyone’s relieved that we got there. And we took a selfie to keep as a memory of the crazy occasion. You’ll never know who you’ll meet and how you’ll impact their day and vice versa.