In Tales from Behind the Wheel: Year One, ride-sharing driver Jonathan Wong shares some of his most memorable stories while driving passengers in the greater Honolulu area. In these pages, he reveals that while sensational stories about carpool drivers and riders seem to be in the media all the time these days, those stories are exceptions. The truth is, most of the rideshare drivers offer a great service to help people with their needs to get from point A to point B, and most of the rideshare riders are ordinary people going about their day-to-day business.
But like in any other situation involving humans, carpooling opens up opportunities for bizarre, hilarious, and poignant moments.
Wong has divided this book into several chapters on the different types of passengers or experiences he has had while driving for Uber and Lyft. Each chapter is itself divided into several very short stories. Jonathan begins with an introduction to what it’s like to be a ride-sharing driver. By sharing his stories, he wants us to see a slice of life and the variety and similarities of the human experience. He declares:
“I hope you will nod your head in agreement during the times when you learn or see the truths of life in the stories I share, because at the end of the day we are all ordinary people, whether we are just sure. the way to work, school or whether we are taking a trip for business or pleasure in a distant land. The human experience is the same no matter where we are or what we do. And part of it The wonder and pleasure of creating tales is the privilege of touching the lives of others. “
I think my favorite stories were in the first chapter of the book, “Freaks Come Out at Night”. Here, Jonathan tells his stories of behaving from religious people who don’t seem to practice what they preach, strippers in need of a homecoming, and people doing what Jonathan calls “the ride of shame.” – a trip home after a night with a lover. Many of these stories made me laugh or shake my head, but they also revealed a very human side to Jonathan’s passengers.
Successive chapters include Jonathan’s experiences driving people for business – many are ordinary people who would rather take Uber or Lyft to work than have the expense of owning a car; others are in Hawaii on business. A chapter on celebrity sightings will leave you in awe of people who will choose carpooling over a private limousine or even a taxi.
And then there is the chapter on taxi drivers. The new economy of ridesharing has really hurt the business of taxi drivers, and as a result, Jonathan has had some less than pleasant run-ins with disgruntled taxi drivers who feel like he’s stealing their fares. It’s not uncommon for him to receive a request to pick someone up from a hotel and pull up straight to his passenger’s door to see a series of taxis lining up for someone to give them a price. He also learned to avoid breaks in parking lots frequented by taxi drivers.
Another interesting chapter focuses on his run-ins with law enforcement. As Jonathan points out, the more you drive the more likely you are to be stopped by the police, and therefore he has had this experience a few times. Fortunately, all his meetings with the police were quite positive despite everything.
There are a lot of other fun stories in this book, and I appreciated their variety. I loved that Jonathan found it interesting meeting all the diverse people he had the opportunity to lead and how he often shared similar interests with them. I also appreciated how seriously he takes his job, being happy to help people who need a vehicle and feeling good that he can get people – like those who are intoxicated – safe to wherever. they must be.
Jonathan has a final chapter on how being a ride-sharing driver means working alone, so you don’t really have coworkers. As a result, he explains how carpool drivers have come together online to share stories and support each other.
In addition, the appendices on the back are filled with useful information for anyone who might be interested in becoming a carpooling driver. (Jonathan has written another book on How To Succeed As A Carpool Driver called Driving Profits and Making Bank and he offers ridesharing lessons.) There is also information on specials and referrals, as well as other ways to earn money by carpooling or through related businesses.
Whether you’re thinking of getting into carpooling yourself or just looking for some entertaining tales to brighten up your day, you’ll find yourself laughing and even thinking a little about the human condition after reading Tales from Behind the Wheel. : First year.