This was my third New Year’s Eve as a Lyft driver. Years one and two were what I would call ‘exciting and profitable’. I had experienced none of the nightmare scenarios that you might expect; they were truly fun. It was like going to a bunch of parties without any of the hassle. This year the big night fell on a Sunday, which for both an active pastor and a Broncos season ticket holder, created a bit of a crunch. I made a decision to ‘punt’ and go out to do ‘cleanup’ around 5:30am. It was a unique experience which could be summed up: I spent five hours with my car 🚗 filled with alcohol fumes. I gave nine rides, every ride was a rider who had the good sense not to drive home.
My first ride was taking a guy a from old Arvada to his home in West Denver. He was on the ‘wind down side’ of house party that had five Lyft and Uber drivers lined up in a cul de sac. I was told at a Lyft meeting that drunk driving arrests in Denver are down nearly 15% as a result of ‘ride share’. It’s hard to estimate how many lives have been spared the havoc that results from driving while drinking. This guy hopped in the car and said “I suspect this 7$ ride will save me about $12,000 dollars”. He was coherent enough to have a fun conversation. I learned that he was a single father who lost his young wife to cancer. “I don’t go out much, but my parents are watching my two kids and I knew I might take in a few too many drinks”. I know a bit about too much to drink 🍸. I used to call New Year’s Eve—Amateur Night! I can spot an amateur, and this guy was the prototype. We got him safely home and he reached over the seat to hand me a cash tip. I assumed it was a dollar 💵 bill. It in fact, was a $20. Wow!!! I was off and running.
I took two different groups of revelers from hotels to DIA… party 🎉 on. The second group were three Kansas City Chiefs fans who live in North Dakota. They were at the same Bronco game where I froze my toosh just hours before. They were just sober enough to be reasonably coherent, and lit up enough to be really funny. They talked in perfect ND accents ‘ya know’. I shared with them that I have been to 46 states and I plan on a road trip to their home state in the next year or so to check them off my bucket list. “Come in late May and play Bully Pulpit”. “Seriously, you have a golf course named Bully Pulpit”? “Yep, and it is one of the top 100 public courses in America”. Who knew, valuable information gleaned the first day of the year. I will plan on heading there when it is neither -44 degrees or +101.
My last rider, a 20-something young girl who passed out/took a nap 💤 in my back seat. It was a 20 minute ride and she was gone 19 of them. The car smelled like the men’s bathroom in the 4th quarter of my most recent Bronco game. She came to, looked around said “Oh my” and started laughing. She also leaned over the back seat and handed me my second $20 bill, and with a giggle said “Happy New Year” and then she weaved her way up the sidewalk. She was driving to Crested Butte in the early afternoon with her parents. Hangovers on a road trip are exponentially miserable.
Happy New Year to each of my readers. Your encouragement of these musings has helped me again to know that we find the “extraordinary in the ordinary”.
Onward and Upward,