Taking a ride on the Uber side: Students’ oddest experiences


Lee Katz | Staff Artist

Many Tulane students use Uber to get around New Orleans. Some come away with stories that demonstrate the strangeness that can come with riding in a stranger’s car.

Taking the streetcar is a New Orleans right of passage, but mastering it is a skill few ever hone. The bus system, while similarly cost-effective, also rarely runs on time. Tulane shuttles and TapRides are useful but not always available, and taxis have roughly a two in three chance of actually showing up when scheduled. Despite the variety of transportation options available around New Orleans, none can rival Uber in convenience and accessibility. Uber can take you from the PJ’s on Willow Street to Preservation Hall in minutes.

An added bonus to the transportation services app is the opportunity to meet someone new. The ride itself can oftentimes be half the fun, and no two Uber experiences are the same. Depending on the driver, the ride can be boring, awkward, thrilling, scary or just plain weird.

It’s easy to take the competence of your Uber driver for granted, but by getting in an Uber, you’re essentially entrusting your safety to a stranger. Freshman Cole Grieshop discovered this on his way back from the hospital. His driver, with a plethora of tacky inspirational quotes around her car and several statues of deities, got them lost multiple times, despite the GPS the driver was using. As for the age-old question “How much should I talk to my driver?” Grieshop had it answered for him.

“There was only one thing she wanted to talk about, which was her f—— plants,” Grieshop said.

Freshman Kiera Torpie found that sometimes when you interact with a new person like an Uber driver, even if they are nice, it’s important to lay out some context in conversation.

“I was in my Uber, and I had my camera around my neck, and the guy was super nice,” Torpie said. “He was just talking to me about photography, and he asked if I liked to take pictures, and I was like ‘yeah.’ Then he was like, ‘Do you like taking pictures of kids?’ And then we just kind of sat there, and it was really uncomfortable for a while. Then he was like, ‘I mean, because I work at a camp.'”

Uber conversations don’t have to be awkward. Sometimes, they can be downright intriguing and expose you to a completely different lifestyle than your own.

“This older gentleman came to pick us up. He was just the funniest dude. He was giving us relationship advice and stuff … He was just talking to us about how he’s in 10 poly[amorous] relationships with multiple people, and it was just the funniest, most interesting thing I think I’ve ever experienced,” junior Parker Bradley said. “He [told] us all about his sex life, his relationships, how he decides who to go home with one night … He was pretty specific about certain things … The funniest part was when we stopped up to the light, and he just knew this girl. He was like, ‘yeah baby I’ll see you later,’ and she was like, ‘you better, daddy.'”

Whatever experience Uber brings your way while you’re on your way, it’s sure to be unique.

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