“Being an Uber driver gives me the freedom to be able to work the hours I want and will help me be able to go back to school to get my bachelor’s degree.”
Local resident, Adam Huff, who calls Payson home, was originally looking for a part-time job on the side of his full-time job. He was on the search for something that would be flexible and allow him to earn extra money on the side to help pay off some debt.
Looking at other options, Adam found that being an Uber driver seemed the most appealing for what he was looking for. After just a few short months of being a driver, Adam loved it so much that he quit his original full-time job and now just works for Uber.
Uber is not your standard taxi service, where a special license is required and where you pick up riders off the street. Instead, Uber drivers use their own vehicle to offer rides and is a car-for-hire service that relies on smartphone technology to dispatch drivers and manage fees.
Often, when someone goes to work, they interact with the public but it’s for brief moments and not many words are exchanged. Every day we pass by people in a hurry as we carry on with our busy daily schedules. What kind of life has the person had who is standing in front of you in line at your local grocery store? What is the happiness that causes the woman to smile that you may pass by at the park?
What kind of trial has the waitress who is taking your order had to endure that has changed her life forever? These are things that often go unnoticed because we get so busy in our own lives.
This is what was so fascinating to me about Adam’s story. He gets a glimpse inside the everyday joys and struggles that people are experiencing.
Adam told of a story that really had an impact on him. One of his riders was just a young 18-year-old girl. He could tell by her demeanor that she was sad. During the drive she was texting on her phone and she started to fall apart and began to cry. She explained to Adam that both of her parents had passed away and talked about how scary it was being so young in this world and feeling all alone with nowhere to go. She had just landed a job interview and was trying to figure out how piece her life back together.
Another story that Adam shared with me is of a 20-year-old Venezuelan man who spoke in broken English. This man was a refugee. He explained how he had mustard gas thrown at him and witnessed his best friend get shot in the head. His brother lost an eye from one of the blasts. He moved to the United States two years ago after a protest against the government. He was working in Utah as a baker and just wanted to build a better life for himself.
One of my favorite stories Adam shared was about a middle-aged business man that he picked up from the Trax Station right before Christmas. He had just flown in from Washington D.C. As Adam made his way through the fancy but guarded gated community in which this man lived, Adam was in awe over just how beautiful and huge some of the mansions were.
Curious, Adam asked the man how much the homes in that neighborhood cost. The man said one of them just sold for just under $10 million. What struck Adam the most was how deeply depressed and lonely this man seemed.
“I get curious about how everyone’s story ends after they get out of my car. I will sometimes think back on my short time with them and wonder how they are doing or if they ever figured things out. I’m not just an Uber driver. I’m a listening ear to people who need to talk. Driving Uber, I meet everyone from different walks of life, whether it be the lonely and homeless or a wealthy business executive. It has really helped me be less judgmental and realize that we are all going through our own issues in life.