Apparently, the Uber drivers have eyes on their female customers. It is not an entirely surprising revelation because when males and females meet, anywhere be it at mall, school, office, stadium or even public place of convinenience there is a proclivity for one of the sexes to show affection to the other. And there are many weird stories of special encounters that have ended up in marriage.
But what is more intriguing in the Uber experience is the drivers' sense of entitlement and a determination to win over the female clients they pick at all cost. Somehow they feel they have a good car and therefore deserve the best including being able to ‘catch’ some of the very beautiful girls they pick and drop off daily.
Last week, a regular journey home from work turned out to be an irregular ‘date’ of some sort, with the Uber driver initiating one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had since I started patronizing the taxi service.
Kofi from the very beginning seemed determined. He got out of the car to get my door for me when he came to pick me from the office, something the guys will do on their first dates with their women. I did three stops during the journey, and every time, he got out to get my door before I stepped out of the vehicle and when I returned.
His pleasant gesture in the beginning caught my attention, because even if it is part of Uber’s protocol on better service to customers, not all the drivers comply with it. Some of them are sometimes rude and impatient. But on a whole, you cannot go wrong with an Uber ride.
So as we settled and started our journey, I noticed Kofi starring at me through the rear view mirror. Our eyes met and he smiled, I smiled too, then he asked “Don’t hide at my back, can you please move to the other side, I want to see you properly.”
Again, I smiled and asked why he wanted me on the right side of the passengers seat, and his response was he wanted us to have a conversation.
So I moved and once I settled, he said “aha, that’s better,” and laughed.
Then the conversation started. “Please have you got a boyfriend,” he asked. I responded in the affirmative and questioned why he wanted to know my relationship status.
It was there that he told me he and his other colleagues, at least most of them, have decided not to only make money from Uber but also take home, at the end of the day, wives, as part of their end of service benefits.
The project, he said, is very dear to the hearts of the drivers who come into contact with these beautiful girls every day.
Kofi said “we also deserve good things oo madam. Just look at yourself, very beautiful and we pick ladies like you every day and hand you over sometimes to other men. We are men too, anaa, madam,” he asked.
Then he continued, “We know that some women have no regard for us drivers, but we Uber drivers are not mere drivers oo. I have a degree from the university of Ghana and I’m not doing this business because there are no jobs for us. And if you don’t work, you cannot eat. So when Uber came my friends and I decided to join and make a living for ourselves.”
But even with all the degree, Kofi said “the ladies don’t even look at us because we are drivers, and we want that to end.”
Kofi went on to say that if ladies knew that Uber drivers also made quite some good money from driving, “they’ll leave their boyfriends for us. We can afford all the good things their boyfriends buy for them.”
I didn’t take Kofi serious. I assumed this was just a guy who was struggling to get a girlfriend, which is normal. Everyone struggles at a point for a partner.
Apparently it was more serious than I thought. Uber driving has become a shopping or rather searching center for single men who are looking for women to date.
I came to this conclusion after my Uber ‘love’ encounter with Kofi and several other drivers I have engaged over the past few weeks.
The search is real. Kofi was right. A dozen more Uber drivers are in it not just for the money but for additional benefits.
P.K. told me ladies largely have very skewed perceptions about commercial drivers. This he said has been caused by taxi and ‘trotro’ drivers whose unruly behaviours have created a stereotype which Uber drivers are struggling to ward off.
“They think we are like the ‘trotro’ and taxi drivers, but we are not. We are professionals, just like those who sit in banks and other corporate institutions with degrees, and we are well behaved.”
P.K still does not understand why the ladies don’t want to give them a chance. He said, for some of the ladies, the mere fact that they are drivers puts them off, but he and his “serious” friends are going to make an effort at trying to get them into their “camp.”
“It is something we are very serious about,” that’s another driver, Kwame.
Kwame did not even wait for me to finish my question before he provided an answer. It was as though he had been waiting for such a long time to reveal it.
“We don’t want to play with them and leave them like the other guys do. Personally, I want to get married so I’m looking for a woman and I am convinced that I will get what I want through this job.”
He was, however quick to add that, it does not mean they will stalk or harass the ladies they come into contact with.
Just like any guy who likes a girl and makes attempts to win her over, Kwame said “we will be tactical about it so that our business doesn’t suffer because really, our first responsibility is ensuring our customer’s outmost comfort and get them to their destination safely.
“But while we are at that, we can create an atmosphere that will allow us to reap some benefits. I mean, look at you, why can’t I have a lady like you as my woman,” he said and as he turned to look at me, he smiled.
For Ernest, he doesn’t really care if a lady he is interested is in a relationship or not.
“I will also put my cards on the table and let her decide who she wants. This time, we will not let these ladies go without making an attempt.”
Ernest has a degree in Business Administration from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He relocated to Accra to live with his parents late last year after Uber launched. Being jobless for three years after he completed university, he decided to take up driving with the taxi service to support himself and sometimes family, although as he said, they don’t really need it.
So far so good, he said. Indicating that the Uber is raking in some substantial amount of money every month, one he can use to support himself and the girlfriend or eventually the wife, he intends to take.
It remains to be seen whether or not these guys will achieve their dreams, but just as taxi drivers are mad at Uber drivers for taking their business, I foresee full blown war between these drivers and the guys whose girlfriends will be taken.
Hold on to your girls guys, the Uber drivers are coming!