What the Uber driver heard…

It’s all in a night’s work on the roads for Dubai’s Uber driv­ers

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sar­wat Nasir @sar­wat­nasir sar­wat@7days.ae

UAE res­i­dents of­ten dish the dirt on taxi driv­ers who drive reck­lessly or take longer routes for more cash. But it’s not just the pas­sen­gers who can share some bizarre tales – the driv­ers also have their share of sto­ries to tell.

Uber driv­ers in the US are known to spill the beans on un­ruly pas­sen­gers with ‘Uber Driver Con­fes­sions’ and ‘Uber Hor­ror Sto­ries’ be­ing cov­ered widely in the me­dia over the years.

7DAYS con­tacted some Dubai-based Uber driv­ers to hear about their ex­pe­ri­ences.

From deal­ing with drunk pas­sen­gers, fight­ing cou­ples and cheat­ing part­ners, driv­ers in Dubai have seen it all.

BABYSIT­TER FOR DRUNK PAS­SEN­GERS

Uber driver Tofiq Muham­mad has been driv­ing taxis for sev­eral years, and some­times he feels like he is also a babysit­ter for rev­ellers who need help to get home after a wild night.

He shared a story about two worse-for- wear pas­sen­gers he was drop­ping home at 2am.

Muham­mad said: “I picked up two guys out­side a ho­tel late at night. They were re­ally drunk. At first they couldn’t re­mem­ber their ad­dress was.

“I drove around for a while so they could re­mem­ber. Fi­nally, I started head­ing to their home, they fell asleep. It took me 15 min­utes just to wake them up.

“After get­ting out of the car, one of them fell onto the side­walk and start­ing sleep­ing there, right next to my car. It was so funny. It was some­thing that should’ve ended up on YouTube.

“We had to drag him fur­ther away from the road and wake him up. I think we waited there for at least 25 min­utes. It was a crazy night.”

SHOUL­DER TO CRY ON

Ayaz Mah­boob said he loves driv­ing for Uber, but one pat­tern he has no­ticed is that he at­tracts cus­tomers who vent their per­sonal prob­lems to him. How­ever, Mah­boob has no prob­lem in lend­ing a shoul­der for peo­ple to cry on.

He said: “There was a Bri­tish lady who I was drop­ping to the air­port once. She seemed very quiet and sad when she got into my car, but soon she start­ing cry­ing. And it wasn’t sound­less kind of cry­ing. It was out loud.

“I felt bad for her, so I asked her what had hap­pened.

“She told me her en­tire story. She dated a guy for so long, got mar­ried to him and now he was cheat­ing on her. That’s why she was on the way to the air­port. She was leav­ing.”

A DRIV­ING PSY­CHI­A­TRIST

Muhammed Hussain be­lieves that he is not just a driver, he has also be­come a psy­chi­a­trist dur­ing his two years driv­ing Uber cars.

He said he deals with frus­trated peo­ple who get into his car and of­ten fight with each other - and of­ten ends up act­ing as a coun­sel­lor.

He shared a story of how he be­came stuck in an “awk­ward sit­u­a­tion” where a mar­ried cou­ple were ar­gu­ing in his car.

He said: “A French cou­ple were in my car once and they looked very an­gry. A few min­utes after get­ting into my car, they started ar­gu­ing very ag­gres­sively and used some bad lan­guage to­wards each other.

“It got very tense in the car, so I de­cided to play some mu­sic to get rid of the ten­sion. But they kept ar­gu­ing. “So I de­cided to in­ter­fere and I told them life is too short to be fight­ing. I said to them ‘you could ei­ther spend that time fight­ing, or en­joy each

mo­ment you have with each other’. By the end of the ride, they were OK and were hug­ging. They also hugged and thanked me.”

LOST IN TRANS­LA­TION

Shoaib Ali says his abil­ity to speak and un­der­stand English has im­proved over the years, but some­times when deal­ing with west­ern ex­pat pas­sen­gers, he still strug­gles to un­der­stand them.

Ali said: “I was on my way to pick up a Bri­tish lady at Souk Al Ba­har. She told me to come in front of the ‘wood gate’.

“I found a wooden gate and I waited there for 10 min­utes. I get a call from her and she’s yelling at me ask­ing me where I am.

“I said I’m in front of the wood gate.

“Turns out she was ac­tu­ally say­ing the ‘oud gate’.”

IN THE DRIV­ING SEAT: Uber driv­ers hear, and see, a lot of things

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