Austin resident Kelly has a lot on her plate. She’s a single mom to a 16-year-old daughter with autism, as well as a 14-year-old son. Her daughter’s condition is particularly tough: Simply getting ready in the morning can be an ordeal, and she regularly gets sent home from school. On top of that, Kelly’s daughter was recently diagnosed with diabetes, which has already sent her to the hospital several times. Kelly has to schedule every meal and check her daughter’s blood sugar often — occasionally she even has to wake her to eat, if it drops too low. Needless to say, when Kelly says “my kids are my life,” she means it.
With mounting medical bills, it’s more important than ever for Kelly to have a reliable way to earn. Since a full-time job isn’t a realistic option, driving with Lyft fills the gap. “I’ve been driving for two years now, and it’s been a lifesaver,” she says. “If my daughter’s having trouble and I need to have a week where I drive less or don’t drive at all, I can do that,” she says. Kelly’s not alone in needing flexibility: 74% of Austin Lyft drivers drive less than 15 hours a week, scheduling around family commitments, a part- or full-time job. “Lyft lets me pause for as long as I need and focus on her,” she says. “Show me another job with that kind of flexibility,” she says.
“What the Austin Lyft Community is All About”
For Kelly, driving with Lyft is more than just a way to make money. As a Lyft mentor, she’s part of a program that pairs top drivers like Kelly with new driver applicants. While her daughter’s in school, she’ll meet the applicant at a coffee shop to answer questions, provide support, and ensure only the best drivers get on the road. Kelly gets paid per mentee, but it’s the relationships she most values. “We’re a community,” she says, “I’ve made lifelong friendships through Lyft — other drivers, my mentees, my passengers.” As an example, she explains that when another Austin driver had some medical trouble and was in the hospital, Kelly and other drivers took shifts to go visit her.
Unsurprisingly, Kelly and her Lyft Austin peers come together for causes like Meals and Wheels and More, the Austin AIDS walk, and neighbors affected by last summer’s floods. “We’re here for each other. That’s what the Austin Lyft community is all about.”
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