Austin is home to thousands of incredible drivers. This month we're highlighting just a few of their stories. Meet Debbie, AKA “The Debster,” a Lyft driver, mentor, and ambassador.
When and why did you start driving with Lyft?
I started about two years ago. It was shortly after Lyft launched in Austin. I saw an ad, a pink ad, and it drew me in. I had been working for a designer traveling around doing trunk shows and she was starting to get sick so we weren’t working as much. I knew I didn’t want to go back to a regular job, so I signed up with Lyft.
How has the experience been so far?
There are no words. I really don’t have anything that I could say that would fully capture my experience with Lyft. It’s been epic. I never turned back. I never started looking for another job, even though this was supposed to be temporary. I have cried with passengers, I have laughed with them, I have made more money than I’ve ever made in my entire life. I’m traveling now — it's allowed me to go to Thailand and I’m actually planning my second trip back this November.
How often are you driving?
I’m not driving as much right now because Lyft has reached out and offered me a mentor position. I’ve been doing that full time. It’s so fun because I feel like I inspire the mentees who are shy or aren’t quite sure about becoming a driver. I let them know that you really do get what you put into it. I’m not special. I don’t have a special degree. I’m not a golden child. I just make Lyft work for me.
Speaking of other opportunities, you are known as the superstar ambassador around the office. Tell me about your experience being an ambassador with Lyft.
That’s been really fun. I love being able to shake it up. It’s a very social thing, it’s like a big party. I love decorating and event planning is my background. I love that I’m able to use my skills to represent Lyft. I actually helped plan the Glowstache launch party for Lyft a few years ago. It’s always fun to help set something up that people are drawn to visually, and then once they are in, the rest is history.
What’s been the most memorable experience you’ve had with Lyft?
It’s really hard to choose because there are so many but here’s one that stands out. I remember picking up this young woman who wanted to go to the pharmacy to pick up her blood pressure medicine. She looked worn out. She was telling me how she was going through a bad divorce and her husband had just gotten in a car accident with their baby and both were in intensive care. It was obviously an emotional time for her. And then she had gone to the pharmacist and they couldn’t process her medicine. She got in the car and was trying to be strong even though I knew she was about to break down. I told her we would go talk to another pharmacist. I went in with her and kind of supported her as a mom-figure. Here’s the thing: we are doing this job, transporting people around the city, but really we are just regular people. I’m a mom, so being able to help her get her medicine and then sit with her for an hour after that — It makes me emotional to talk about. She opened up to me and I shared my story with her. I lost a child, so for us to be able to just sit there and cry together — I feel like the universe really sent me to her. I felt like she needed me at that time. I remember being emotional as a I drove away and I contacted my circle of drivers to tell them that it’s not always about what’s on our paycheck on Wednesday, it’s about how you act and feel. You may be saving someone’s life. Just being there for her that day... I think about it a lot.
Feeling the #LyftLove, Austin? Check back for more inspiring stories like Debbie's throughout the month.