Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Uber ride today

So, when my uber driver arrived in front of the grocery store where I was standing, in addition to the uber sticker on the right side of his front windshield, I saw a trump/pence sticker and a confederate flag sticker on the right side of his toyota camry. I knew I wasn't what he was expecting to provide a ride.
A week earlier, a friend had shown me an article that said that people of color were getting delays of uber rides  by an average of an hour, or cancellations. Investigations have confirmed people's suspicions.  I haven't had any drama with uber. As a matter of fact, my average wait times have been 4 minutes, with the longest I've ever had to wait for an uber ride, being 7 minutes. I'm pretty sure it's because of the spelling of my first name; Alieux
(Uber riders get ride requests by name. They don't see a face. Based on the name, they can decide whether to accept or reject). As a matter of fact, I am convinced; at three new  insurance jobs  I've had in the 90's and the 00's before linkedin and google search, sales agents would be the first to come to my desk to meet this new underwriter named 'Alieux'. There would always be a look of disappointment. It turns out, they were expecting  to meet a french female and not a black man. Years after we've bonded and became friends, they would tell me what their expectations were when they first met me. I'd laugh, and say 'sorry'.
Anyway, when my uber driver arrived in front of the grocery store where I was standing, I opened the car door, said 'hello' and I put my bags in the back seat, sat down and shut the door. He said, 'you're not what I was expecting. You're going to Kirby Lane, right?'  He was an older caucasian with a receding hairline. He was playing country music. I said 'yes' and I asked him what he was expecting. He said 'well the spelling of your name is, uh, well- is it pronounced  'al-you' ?   I said yes ( he pronounced it correctly). He said 'I thought you'd be a woman.'  I told him I'm not. He said ' I can see that.'

He didn't say anything else until after I said 'thanks, have a good evening and happy holidays' when he arrived at my address. He said 'thanks, you too'.

I mentioned this to a friend, Jermaine, who lives in Boston, and I also mentioned it to my friends DeMarco and Marsalis, who both live in Milwaukee. Jermaine said that he can't even get an uber ride because they keep cancelling, Marsalis said that he had to wait about 40 minutes each time and just about gave up on them. DeMarco said that his average wait is an hour, and so he just uses regular cab service if his brother or girlfriend can't pick him up.

My friends Nancy, Mary Anne, and Heather said they never have a problem getting an uber ride quickly.

I wonder why?

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