Taking Uber is second nature. I avoid taxis unless it is raining in NYC, and I need to get out of a downpour. Leaving my new home, Puerto Rico, I requested an Uber at 12:30AM. Right away, I received a call from the driver. He called to let me know that his wife would be accompanying him on the trip and inquired if this was fine with me. Without thinking, I said, “No problem.”
As I was waiting, I started to question if this was a good idea. A similar request happened when I was in a taxi in La Paz. The request made me uneasy so I exited the taxi. In Chengdu, the unlicensed cab driver from the airport stopped to pick up her boyfriend. He ended up driving. Paranoid, I was on my phone texting my friend live updates. I arrived promptly and at the agreed upon price. Another time, I took a taxi from Varna to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. The driver said it was a long drive and asked if I was fine if his wife accompanied him for the trip. I obliged and again there was no issue.
None of those examples made me less uneasy for this trip. The anxiety increased when the driver asked if he could take his route to the airport instead of the Uber prescribed route. I said sure, all the while being mindful of the street signs. It didn’t end there. The driver followed up by asking if he could smoke and if he could play music. I didn’t care and said yes.
Since I’m writing this post, it is safe to deduce that I arrived at the airport with no troubles. Having said that, a wise traveler would’ve cancelled and ordered a new Uber. Even if the probability of something nefarious occuring is low, given Uber’s tracking, it was not worth the stress.
TPOL’s TIP: Whether it’s an Uber, metered taxi, or an unlicensed taxi, travelers should be on guard because trouble is always on the horizon.