Drug deals, abusive passengers, and a back seat full of glitter that takes weeks to get out are just some of the things Uber drivers have to deal with.
While the app has transformed the way we travel — and the way some people work — there are challenges for the drivers.
Drivers based in Canberra get together monthly for a debrief lunch, where they discuss some of their more interesting passengers.
One driver suspects he was an accidental party to a drug deal. "He [the passenger] said 'I've just got to drop some money off to a mate.' He came out about five minutes later and he was like blah blah blah blah the whole way back. So, I thought yeah, you've just done a drug deal and had a sample of the goods".
Another shared how he got abused by a passenger who had fallen asleep in the back seat. The driver pulled up at their destination, assuming it was the person's house. He turned around to let the passenger know they'd arrived home safe and sound.
The driver then got a mouth full and was given a one-star rating. The reason? The passenger claimed they "hadn't woken him up the right way".
These drivers are mostly family men, who are driving for some spare cash on the side. Or they have retired and wanted a flexible part-time job to keep them busy.
They reassured me it's not all bad. "The festivals are quite fun" one driver shared. "Although clothes are optional," he says.
"Oh glitter, they're mad for the glitter. It took me weeks to clean the car out."
The late night Maccas run seems to be quite popular, which sees Uber drivers pick clients up from their place, usually in their pyjamas and drive them through McDonalds for a feed.
"I had two young girls the other night," a driver explains. "They spend $75 the two of them." Now that's a feed. The driver particularly liked that ride. "They bought me a coffee," he says with a smile.
Excellent work, girls. If only all trips were that pleasant.
Imagine having to take someone for a 45-minute trip with the suspicion that they'd had an accident. In their pants.
"It was my worst experience," says the driver. They don't decline the ride though, they need the money to make ends meet.
If you have a cheeky spew get prepared to be fined for it.
If only vomit was the nastiest body fluid some drivers found in the back seat. Blood and urine has also been located when clients have fled the car in a rush. Sure, there is a clean-up fee charged to the passenger but spare a thought for the driver who now can't take any rides for the rest of the shift. Because their back seat has a mysterious puddle.
If only chatty redheads (could be me) who have had two champagnes and want to listen to Celine Dion was the worst of their problems.
After hearing what Australian Uber drivers put up with, I think we'll all be on our best behaviour after this.
We'll also reconsider our star rating. These drivers are stars for not pulling the car over leaving some passengers on the side of the road.
- Kristen Henry work on the is one half of the Kristen and Wilko show in Canberra.