It was like every other morning, except on this particular day, I was running late—five minutes later than my usual tardiness. Before you judge me, let me say, I’m not a morning person. I don’t care how early you force me out of bed to be productive, I won’t give you my best until about 10 a.m. After that time, I’m the brightest, liveliest, most hardworking man in America. Because of this, I usually leave home a little later than usual, miss the traffic, work late and miss the traffic back home. Due to the fact that I am still at work when everyone has already left, I find myself putting in a lot more quiet and productive hours (hours after 10 a.m.) than I would if you forced me to get to work at 8 and leave at 5. I didn’t have to explain that logic to you, but I did. That’s part of #RichHonesty
Okay, back to my story…
I jumped into my car and headed down my usual route. About five minutes into my 45-minute voyage, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw something no driver wants to see. The dreaded long-eyed headlights of a police car. I slowly put my spinach smoothie back into the cup holder and pretended to be an 80-year-old man who was being extra cautious. It didn’t work. In the words of Jay-Z in his infamous hit, 99 Problems, “well you was doing fifty-five in a forty-five.” Mr. Officer had already clocked me going ten over the speed limit. He turned on those dreaded patriotic lights and pulled me over. To be fair, this was my first ticket ever in 10 years of driving. My new car is also pretty smooth; I sometimes don’t realize how fast I’m going. To be honest, I felt like I was going 30 miles per hour. The cop was great (something you don’t hear in this day and age). He actually wrote me an “excessive speed” ticket instead of writing me a ticket for each mile over the limit. To cut a long story short, I got a ticket, and the rest of my day and week was completely ruined. I let myself down. The ticket was a message from God, because to be honest, I was getting a little cocky and always bragged to my fiancé about my clean record. Best believe I will never get caught speeding again… or at least not for the next few months. I learned my lesson.
The speeding incident happened on Thursday, which took the excitement out of the impending weekend. The only thing that kind of took my mind off the ticket was the fact that I had a five star date planned for my fiancé on Saturday.
Fast forward to Friday night…
I decided to make a few extra bucks through my part-time job as an Uber driver to help me pay the ticket.
Let me give you some background: I’ve been signed up as an Uber driver for a little over a year. For those that don’t know what Uber is, it is a mobile ride request app that allows passengers to request a ride from a driver using his/her personal vehicle. I usually drive on Friday and Saturday nights when I have no plans. This part-time gig is a good source of some extra money for my impending wedding. I’ve gotten so good at Uber driving, I usually make a couple of hundred bucks in 4-6 hours of driving on the weekends (2-3 hours each on Fridays and Saturdays). That’s pretty good spending/saving money for the number of hours I work. I also get to meet really cool people, and hear the most ridiculous conversations. As I stated earlier, my car is fairly new, and I usually get a lot of compliments from my passengers for how clean and fresh it is. Because I spend most of my time in a college town, one of the most frequent questions I get is “has someone ever thrown up in your car?” To which my answer every time for the past year has been “No. I’m blessed.” That’s the truth, because for an Uber driver who spends most of his time in a college town, the fact that there have been no incidents of projectile vomiting (due to an ungodly amount of alcohol) in my car is truly a blessing.
Back to story…
On this particular weekend, I didn’t plan on ‘Ubering’ at all. I couldn’t drive on Saturday because of the date I had planned for my bae, so I had planned to take Friday off as well and just relax after my unfortunate week. I also usually make only about $100 on weekends when I only drive on Friday night (Saturday nights are the real money makers), so I didn’t feel like I needed to drive this particular weekend. BUT I DID! I did because of the ticket I got the day before. I wanted a little bit of money to help me pay my $124 speeding ticket without hurting my budget.
It was a pretty steady night. Students were back in school and were ready to party before classes heated up. I started driving at 11 p.m. and had made about $75 by 1 a.m. I was ready for prices to surge as they usually do when the bars let out around 1:30 a.m. I just wanted to make $100.
I picked up a guy from a bar at about 1:20 a.m. He looked pretty drunk, but he got into my passenger seat and we had a pretty solid conversation for the first two minutes. He then began to doze off. He was going about six miles away, so I wasn’t too worried. I would drop him off and be ready for my next ride. Just before I turned into his apartment complex, I saw his neck whip to the right, then down. The next thing I saw was this young man open his mouth and VOMIT all over my seat and floor. BRUH! HE DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO OPEN THE WINDOW! It took me a minute to process what just happened. I pulled up to his apartment and this drunken college BOY got out of the car without even apologizing.
Just when I was about to lose my mind, I remembered that Uber charges passengers between $50 and $200 for damages to a car. This fee is also charged to passengers who throw up as a cleaning fee for the driver. I turned on the lights in my car to look at how bad it was. IT WAS BAD. Dude probably ate a pizza or something, because that was the worst throw up I had ever seen. I obviously had to stop driving and go home because I couldn’t pick up any more passengers with throw up in my front seat. I was angry, and I couldn’t sleep that night. I took pictures of the mess and sent it to Uber headquarters immediately.
I woke up at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and took my car to get thoroughly detailed. It took them eight hours to get my car completely cleaned and it cost me $60.
First a speeding ticket, now $60 to get my car cleaned after a night when I didn’t make enough money driving because I had to check out the BIG MONEY time. Just as I sat back to reflect on how terrible my week had been, I checked my email and saw something that almost made me cry.
Uber had charged the passenger the maximum penalty fee of $200 for throwing up in my car. I didn’t think I would get that much, but by golly, I was happier than my buddy James at a chicken restaurant.
So in retrospect, my week actually turned out to be pretty good. In fact, it was better than a normal weekend in terms of income. I had just made enough money to cover my speeding ticket and the cost to get my car cleaned. Plus I had money left over. I ended up making $75 more in ONLY two hours of driving than I usually make driving both Friday and Saturday nights when demand is average.
Just when I thought it was the worst week ever, it turned out to be a pretty good week, which ended with an awesome date night with my fiancé.
Ladies and Gentlemen: It’s never as bad as it seems. Always remember that as bad as your day may be going, someone is probably having a worse day somewhere. As long as you have life, be grateful.
God truly has a good sense of humor. He got me to learn the hard way to slow down, allowed someone I didn’t even know to throw up in my fairly new car, and then just as I was about to get angry and ask why, He turns around and blesses me by providing enough money to cover my ticket and more. He got his point across, and I think once I learned not to disobey the law by speeding, He came through and paid my debt. Just as He did on the cross!
My God is pretty funny. He is also a very faithful God who never lets me down even in the smallest situations. Some of you may think this is just coincidence, but in my opinion, blessings like these are never just coincident. God is always working behind the scenes.