Meet Milindha: A Memory from 10,000 Rides

Meet Milindha: A Memory from 10,000 Rides

After over two years and nearly 10,000 rides as a Lyft driver, San Francisco resident Milindha is a passenger favorite — and it’s not hard to see why. He’s got expert-level knowledge of the SF streets, a friendly face, and storytelling skills that make you wish your ride was longer. In celebration of hitting 10K this month, Milindha made hand-signed thank you cards to give to every one of his passengers. Talk about a five-star ride.

We drove around the block with Milindha and picked his brain on which ride — out of all the 10,000 — was the most memorable.

“This was during my first or second week as a driver. I picked up three girls and a guy. Their destination was a ways across town, so we were having a nice time talking about various things and joking. All of a sudden one girl suggested they sing, and have the guy harmonize. The other two girls agreed, but they couldn’t decide which song to pick. This went on for a while — dilly-dallying and starting to sing songs and stopping — so I told the guy in the front seat ‘this isn’t going anywhere, you and I should just sing!’ Then I heard the girls whispering in the back seat, and suddenly they said ‘okay okay, we’re going to sing!’

They started to sing, and I’m telling you, it was like angels singing. It was so beautiful. The guy chimed in with a harmony, and it was unbelievable. I loved it and wished I could’ve recorded it! I told them so. It brought back nostalgic memories and tears to my eyes as it reminded me of my days as a young boy in Sri Lanka, when my parents used to sing songs like “Edelweiss” and “Home on the Range” in the car on our way to school. Back in the 1970s, me and my five siblings would join in on the sing-a-long during the almost five-hour journey from the tea plantation to the capital city of Colombo, where our private school was located. Anyway, I told the passengers they should get together and sing professionally, and then and only then did they tell me they’re all students at a music academy here in SF! They go to voice training lessons every day. I thought, no wonder they were whispering when I told them I’d just sing instead! I think they said ‘okay, let’s show this Lyft driver what we’re capable of,’ and off they went.

Apart from their great voices, they were such sweethearts and wonderful passengers. I loved it. It’s these rides that have kept me going on the streets of San Francisco morning, noon, and night for two years and ten thousand rides. Just beautiful.”

Thanks, Milindha, for two years of five-star rides! Here’s to many more.


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