San Francisco driver Chris is a bit of a legend in the Lyft community, although he would never say so. He’s given over 10,000 rides in the past three years, and he has a warmth about him that leaves passengers feeling more like friends by the time the ride is over. Perhaps his previous 15 years as a newspaper reporter have something to do with it. “My journalism skills are put to good use as a Lyft driver,” he says. “You learn to listen. Ask questions. Make sure you understand someone’s point and talk about it with them.” Whatever the reason, it’s made him favorite for passengers and fellow drivers alike.
Over the past three years as a driver, Chris’ passengers have awarded him titles of best friend, relationship expert, career counselor, and “cool dad.” He’s been a part of marriages, breakups, drunken confessions, dance parties, and impromptu Rent sing-a-longs at two in the afternoon. He calls these “magic moments,” and he’s got plenty of them. Lucky for us, this ex-journalist is also an epic storyteller, and he shared some of his memorable moments with us in honor of his three-year Lyftiversary:
I got the oddest compliment last night while giving a ride to three students.
"Can we all agree that he (meaning me) is the cool dad we NEVER had," said the guy in the back seat.
I wasn't trying to be cool. I had been telling them that I voted against Ronald Reagan twice in the 1980s and that I liked the Talking Heads band back then. I still do.
So, the compliments change as you get older. The self-conscious guy I was back in college, sporting the same dumb haircut I do now then, is now called "the cool dad we never had."
"WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE"
Your friend with a car. Your friend with a car. Your friend with a car.
I tried to be one just now.
David and I were laughing. Serious sarcasm. Beatles talk. I was loving it. Then — just as we pulled over on Lombard — he said "the love of my life just broke up with me."
"Oh no," I said. "That is really messed up." I decided to cancel the ride. I said the ride was on me — no payment. "It won't bring her back, but it's the least I can do," I said.
"Everybody's been there. I am not going to lie. It's going to be bad for a few weeks. That happened to me. Then I met my wife and we've been married 26 years now."
I looked at him. He had tears in his eyes. He grabbed my hand.
He kissed my hand. He said like “I am going to do this for you” --- or something like that.
"We've all been there. I am on your side."
Then he left.
I think I helped. I hope I did.
I feel awful for that guy.
I met a guy with a special quest!
He's going to try to drink every single type of beer there is — and he says there are thousands. If you drink four or five different types beers a day, you're at 1,500 beers a year. He started his undertaking a couple of weeks ago. He has an app that helps him keep track of his progress.
"She is so f*ing out of my league that it isn't even funny."
That's how a young lawyer described his girlfriend of six years to me at the end of a long trip from Columbus Avenue to Twin Peaks.
I'd never heard a guy describe his significant other with such passion. I was very impressed. It's not hard to praise that person when they are around. But, when you can say it with such conviction at 2 AM, with no one else around, that must be true love.
"She's a teacher. She's doing great things," he said about his girlfriend.
I wished she had heard it. I am still thinking about it. I even told another guy, my last passenger of the evening about what he said. He was impressed too. "She is so f*ing out of my league that it isn't even funny."
A contender for one of my most memorable rides of 2014: a 3 AM ride in which this young guy told me about a problem that erupted after he took his girlfriend (!) to a strip club for a lap dance. (Now, she wanted him to come to a strip club featuring guys.)
I had asked my passenger Debra: "How is your evening going?" She could not stop laughing.
Debra told me she’d gone out on a first date that was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Her date invited her to have a drink but did not have enough money to pay for a single drink.
She said it did not matter if her date was unemployed. They could have postponed the date. I said they could have had coffee, which is cheaper than alcohol, or a walk in the moonlight. (That's free.)
But paying for the first drink on the first date was a bit much. It cameos the same day she and a friend had discussed the minimum requirements for a good date, things like having good manners and tipping decently.
Then this date! Had the date had better, she was hopeful they might catch a movie.
I cut off the Lyft early. I told her it was more a gesture than a real savings. "it's not even the cost of a drink or anything," I added. She laughed some more. She said she was going to watch the Golden Globe Awards — and call her friend!
Happy three years, Chris! We’re lucky to have you in the Lyft community!