Almost three years ago I launched my Lyft career. After two test rides on a Thursday evening, I headed out at 5:30am on a Saturday morning from my safe cave on Washington Park. From that first early morning adventure until last Saturday, I will tell you it is my favorite time to go Lyfting. One— you have the streets to yourself. Two—most Lyft drivers have turned in to bed after ‘combat driving’ with drunks downtown on Friday night. Three—you get two kinds of rides, taking hungover folk home or to their cars, or getting folk to work. This past Saturday I headed out at 6am and traveled three very different journeys.
Mario The Plumber— Seriously, he could have come right out of a Nintendo game. He hopped in the back seat and said “I had the good sense to take a Lyft last night. I live way down by Sloan’s Lake and I hope you don’t mind”. “Heck no, we have the streets to ourselves”. A very fun conversation took off. He traces his roots to Pueblo, too. I asked how he got into plumbing. “Well, when I was young, angry and crazy, I went to prison. I came to my senses and decided I needed to change my ways. I got some great training there and I have been a licensed plumber for 20 years. I love it. My son is now working with me, too. We do real well. Prison changed my life”. We talked about the massive influx of people into Colorado that is taking place. In no time we were at his place right next to this high-end development on the south end of Sloan’s Lake. I commented on “Location, Location, Location”. He laughed and said “The place on the corner just sold for 1.3 million. My family bought here when nobody wanted to be here. Some things really do work out for the best. Hey, thanks for the ride my Pueblo amigo”.
Andrew the ‘Hill-Hippy’— just like that, I was headed up to Edgewater for my next ride. This highly energetic young man got in with lots of beads, smelling of pot and patchouli. He looked out the sunrise coming up over Sloan’s Lake and said “Wow and now I live here, beauty in every direction”. “How long have you been here?” I inquired. He began a hilariously interesting story that I will try to paraphrase. “In 2012 I was living in a town in the far south tip of Illinois. The tallest thing for 75 miles was a grain elevator. Three of us decided that we needed to go west. I had an aunt in Oakland, California who said we could come out there and see if we could find jobs. Our town had a population of 200… when we left it went down to 197. We figured we could drive there in two very long days. Denver was half way. One of my buddies had a Facebook friend who said we could crash at their place. We got fo Denver at midnight and when we woke up the next morning they asked if we wanted to go hiking. So we headed to the mountains. We went to the Flat Irons, Mt. Falcon, and finished at Roxborough State Park. I said, ‘Heck with California, I am staying here’. It was the smartest thing I ever did. I had only ever been 200 miles from home”.
We were headed to Walmart on west Colfax. “Are you headed to work”? I asked. “Oh no, I am picking up some stuff there to go ‘magnet fishing’ at Cherry Creek reservoir. My Dad taught me how – you wouldn’t believe the stuff people drop in the Lake. Last year I got a tackle box that had a class ring in it with a ruby as big as my thumbnail. I cleaned it up. I went on Facebook and found the owner. He have me $500 for finding it”. He hopped out at WallyWorld as happy as Cicadoidea in September.
Bill—In my trifecta of Saturday rides, Bill was the exact contrast to the first two. I pulled up to his house in east Wheat Ridge, to see a middle aged guy in jogging gear standing by his Forerunner, with his left front wheel folded under the body. He walked up to the car and asked me if could load my car with a bunch of stuff for a cross country meet. “Sure, what the heck happened to your car”? “I have no idea, I went out this morning and this is what I found. You are a lifesaver. I don’t know what I would have done before Lyft”. We headed out to a high school 22 miles away. We had a great conversation about all things ‘guy’. It turns out he was a barefooted place kicker for an Ivy League football team in the 80’s. Just like Andrew the ‘Hill-Hippy’ (Andrew’s own name for himself) once he got here in the late 80’s, he never left. I told him about ‘magnet fishing’ and he laughed and said “You know that sounds fun… I might try it”. We beat his cross country team bus to the meet. He unloaded his pile of coach stuff. I headed back home 60$ richer, but even more, I hung out with Three Great Guys.
Onward and Upward,