Retired Security Guard and Powell’s Books Fanatic: Meet Portland Driver Gary Damelin

Retired Security Guard and Powell’s Books Fanatic: Meet Portland Driver Gary Damelin


Last year, when Gary Damelin was laid-off from his longtime job as a security guard, he decided to try driving with Lyft. Over 1,000 rides later, he’s a passenger favorite and Portland Hub delight. We had the chance to sit down with Gary to get to know him better and hear about his favorite rides and tips for new drivers.

“I moved here from Los Angeles during the historic winter storm of 1995, but only since I started driving with Lyft did I feel I truly got to know this unique city,” Gary said. In addition to exploring Portland, Gary enjoys driving with Lyft because of the flexibility, awesome passengers, and steady income. When he’s not in driver mode, he enjoys perusing the bookstores in Portland, especially Powell’s and Barnes and Noble.

As for his favorite Lyft rides, he shared a couple of stories with us. “One time, I picked up two gentlemen who were visiting from out of town, and dropped them off at the Molalla Airport to go skydiving for the first time,” Gary shared. “They were so excited and nervous about going, it was really cool to be a part of it. I’m sure they had a great time!”

Another time, Gary picked up a member of the circus — literally. “One of my passengers was this nice lady who needed a ride to work. It turns out she was an acrobatics instructor at a circus school in Portland. I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but of course it would in Portland. You never know who you’re going to pick up, and I love that!”  

Gary's best tips for new drivers? Have fun, easy topics to talk with passengers about, and open the door for them when possible (“Chivalry is not dead, after all!”).


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