It’s about 1 AM on a Sunday morning, one of those nights I’m working Saturday bar close. Naturally, I end up in Over-the-Rhine, the formerly depressed neighborhood that’s transformed into Cincinnati’s bar district. I’m on Main Street, which becomes what I call a riot zone after 11 on Saturdays. Between other rideshare drivers picking up and dropping off passengers and the hundreds fleeing the bars, Main St. becomes a parking lot. Tonight is no different.
I turn off Main onto a side street to pick up a fare directly behind me. Flipping on the flashers so he can see me, I call the passenger.
“Hi, this is Tom from Uber. I just parked on Mercer across from your bar. Black sedan with flashers going.”
“Hi, can you see me?”
There are literally 500 people swarming around my car. He could be waving, jumping up and down, and I wouldn’t see him. “No, sir, what are you wearing? I can look for that.”
“I just moved. Can you see me now?”
“I don’t know, sir. There’s a crowd in this intersection. Are you tall? Short? Black? White? What kind of shirt are you wearing?”
“Wait a minute. I just moved. Can you see me now?”
“Again, sir, I don’t know what you look like. I could be looking right at you and not know it. Give me something to look for.”
“Can you see me now?”
Lather, rinse, repeat for next five minutes, three of which I’m getting paid for.
Finally, “Sir, I’m canceling the ride. I don’t know where you are, and you aren’t cooperating.”
“Wait. I just moved. You should be able to see me now.”
Alcohol most likely was involved.
My next fare stood on the street corner and was on my way home.