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Why I Drive

January 25, 2016 / US

Everyone has a story. Here’s a look behind the wheel at a few of our partners as told by some of our favorite bloggers.

The House That Lars Built

The House That Built Lars

I was assigned to interview Loren, an Uber driver based in Seattle, Washington. Before our phone call interview I knew basic information about her. She’s a 61 year old school bus driver and artist who can “paint just about anything” but by the end of the conversation I felt like I needed to fly up to Seattle and get a tour of her city with her in the driver’s seat. You see, Loren has lived a well-lived life. She’s moved over 100 times (“I’m on my last,” she claims) and has done remarkable things. She’s made the most out of this journey we call life. After our phone call, she inspired me to put everything down and go do something I’ve been wanting to do for years: Make the trek out to Salvation Mountain.

Loren’s grandfather, Jacob Mabel, was a founding father of Seattle and built the first structure where people gathered for school (prior to the official schoolhouse). A few generations later, her strong-willed grandmother moved her family up to Alaska and braved the challenging terrain. After learning about her family history, I came to notice similar qualities in her. These family members have certainly informed her character and have driven her to brave the 100+ moves abroad and within the US, join the army, drive a semi-truck across the US, and transport hundreds of kids to school every day.

Loren decided to partner with Uber when she was a tour guide in Seattle. She came to know the city thoroughly and because of her ancestry, she took the job more seriously. She felt connected to it. A friend noticed how well she could navigate around town and mentioned Uber to her. After doing some research, she found that it would work perfectly for her as she was already driving kids to school about 25 hours per week and could do it in the rest of her time so decided to sign up.

You couldn’t meet a better proponent of Uber than Loren. For that matter, you couldn’t meet a more positive person in general! Through all the life adventures Loren’s been all, she’s chosen to focus on the positive. In fact, when she retires in a few years, she’s determined to write a book called “At Least The Grass Gets Watered” attesting to the fact that though she’s moved so many times, she’s always maintained a beautiful green lawn. And she claims that watering that grass has come in part to her partnership with Uber. Uber has allowed her to work flexible hours whenever she wants to “and if you need to take a nap or get groceries you just turn off the blue button and come back to it whenever you want. Sold! “And you make good money doing it.” Sold again! Next you’ll see more driving along in my floral-painted Lars Mobile giving rides out. Maybe we’ll do some crafting on the ride 🙂 In her own words:

“If you like people and you like to drive and you want to make a lot of money and you want to keep your own time and have fun, this is the job for you.”

Best Friends For Frosting

Best Friends for Frosting

I had the pleasure of speaking to an amazing woman named Kim, who is a driver-partner in Los Angeles. As the single mother to a beautiful little girl with special needs, Kim needed a job that would allow her to choose her own hours. As a result of a demanding school and therapy schedule for her daughter, Uber was the perfect solution. After working in the fashion industry her whole life, she knew she needed to be able to make her own hours in order to take care of her daughter. Being able to keep a flexible work schedule is exactly what she needed in able to work around her daughter’s schedule.

Kim told me, “As a mom, it has been a god-send to be honest. My life is about my daughter and it has been since she was born, especially when she became ill at 15 months old. Six days a week she has therapy and school; she is my primary goal. Uber has allowed me to not have to get a full-time job and be able to take her to school and therapy on my own.” Because the app is so easy to use and is so accessible to everyone, it has changed the way people are getting from each destination. Kim said, “The biggest thing I love about Uber is that it has changed the way people are traveling. They aren’t driving drunk anymore, it is such an amazing benefit.” She also said she loves picking up people after they have been partying; they are the most fun! Because no ride is ever the same, Kim never gets bored and is always energized and entertained by her passengers.

Becoming a driver-partner allows you to learn even more about your city than you could have imagined. Not only can you make extra money for the holidays, but you truly can become your own boss. This amazing single mother explained how becoming a driver-partner can change your life in such a positive way. We are seriously inspired by her! Becoming a partner is not only great for those who want a flexible schedule, but also for those who want to socialize more and make extra money for the holiday season.

Kelly In The City

Kelly In The City

Dianne is a Chicago native, born and raised in the city’s Hyde Park and Beverly neighborhoods. As Hyde Park (President Obama’s neighborhood!) borders Lake Michigan, she’s always been drawn to the water, and can’t imagine life without it. She loves fashion but doesn’t think it has to break the bank. She’s a social butterfly yet extremely family-oriented. She’s an open, bubbly person with an infectious laugh; she’s positive and energetic; and she’s passionate. Her dream is to become a self-employed app developer, and to open a web development consulting company in the inner city.

About a year ago, Dianne was employed in insurance sales, and pursing her real dreams through i. c. stars, a non-profit organization that provides a rigorous and highly selective technology-based workforce development and leadership training program for low-income adults. (The goal is to pair Chicago’s technology talent with leadership and career opportunities through partnering organizations, and help prepare students for for community-based advocacy.) Dianne had just bought a car to make getting to and from work a bit easier, but shortly after the purchase, the insurance company let an entire division go. Suddenly, she found herself jobless and struggling to make her car payments. Unfortunately, she found herself at the end of a longtime relationship, too.

And then it dawned on her. Why not sign up with Uber? She had a new car, after all, and she loved the idea of being on her own time. She’d also heard that the incentives were amazing, that the “on-boarding” process only took a few days, and that earnings were paid weekly. And she could stand for something new in her life. So she did. (And she chopped off her hair, while she was at it. So cute, right?!)

She’ll admit that picking up her first rider was a bit nerve-wracking, as any first day on a new job can be. But get this: that first rider serendipitously turned out to be an acquaintance, and the two laughed and chatted for the entirety of the trip. Dianne took it as a sign.

Since that day, she’s had countless positive experiences with riders. There was that really amazing conversation that resulted in an exciting job offer (which Dianne ended up declining, as it wasn’t in app development). And then there was that one guy, who couldn’t have been more thankful for his “guardian,” who picked him up and delivered him safely to his destination after he’d been over-served. And who could forget the adorable couple who renewed Dianne’s faith in love?

“I just love that driving isn’t monotonous, as you might think it is,” she says. “Every day is different. Always. There’s always some different stepping into your car, and you meet new people every day. It’s been one of the best experiences.”

Uber has also enabled Dianne to get to know her city better. Before becoming a driver-partner, she spent the majority of her time in Hyde Park and Beverly. (Don’t we all spend most of our time where we live?) But now she’s all over the place, and she’s discovered a ton of new-to-her hotspots. Today, Dianne is one of the highest-rated driver-partners in Chicago, and loving the life that Uber has given her. A year ago, she was tied down by a 9-to-5, and finding the time to study and pursue her dream of app development was extremely difficult. She was also missing out on a boatloads of opportunities. Now, though, she has the flexibility to drive when she wants, study when she wants, and take on freelance contract work when she wants.

“I attribute a lot of my happiness to the fact that I’m not in a box every day,” Dianne says. “When I’m in my car, I’m in the world. I’m in a circle; it’s a connection. Life is much easier when we’re in a circle compared to a box, trying to work our way out.”

For women who are in between jobs, working part-time, or simply looking for something to do, Dianne couldn’t recommend signing up with Uber more. It’s a wonderful release, and can bridge one phase of life to the next. It can also renew a woman’s motivation to reach her goals and do what she truly wants to do. And Dianne is one ride closer every day.

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