UBER DAY #1: BLOOD ON THE BACKSEAT

After over two months of procrasting and going back and forth with the registration process, I finally became a fully registered Uber Driver. The ‘delay’ was partly because the third-party insurance on my car wasn’t registered online with the NIID. But it was mainly because I wasn’t in a hurry to start driving.

I was nervous. I didn’t think I knew enough about being an Uber driver. I thought I should have paid attention during the Uber tutorial class.
It was a Sunday evening, dark, and overcast. I sat in the car for about ten minutes before I finally decided to “GO” online and turn on the ignition. I drove out, still nervous. 20:15, the phone made the sound. I was about to meet my first Uber passenger.

The GPS led me to a mall. The rider called as I approached the mall. She said she had seen the car, asked me to park, and assured me that she would be joining me soon. I waited for almost ten minutes. I wasn’t angry, I was excited. I wasn’t in a hurry. I just wanted to complete my first trip.

After waiting for a while, someone approached the car. It became obvious she wasn’t the rider when I called her by the name of the rider and she didn’t answer. Instead, she asked if I was “the Uber”, and I said yes. I realised she was with the rider who still wasn’t visible. The first lady sat in the owner’s corner. Soon after, the second lady, who was the original rider, came on board. We took off.

The two ladies could not stay quiet for one second. Not that I’m complaining, but they spilt more than they should have. I mean, do all riders just assume the driver is supposed to act like some machine programmed not to listen to their conversation? They didn’t say a word to me. They went on and on about some guy and how nice he is, and how some other guy is not as nice as that other guy, and how the other guy lets ladies use his clothes etc. I didn’t laugh. I didn’t even turn my neck, not even once. I wanted to see their faces but it was dark and I wasn’t sure if that wasn’t some breach of the Uber rules for drivers.

I dropped them off at what seemed to be a night club some 20 minutes later. It was a cash trip, and they let me keep the change. Business was booming, Lol. Some three minutes later, the phone made the sound again, duty called.

A group of druggy looking women stood outside a nightclub. I wasn’t sure if the rider was one of them. I parked, and the rider called to confirm my location. She approached the car with a few friends. I didn’t count. After she had sat down in the owner’s corner, they seemed to be looking for something that was missing from the rider’s bag. Drugs maybe. Drugs most likely. They apologized to me and as typical Nigerians, they asked me to “exercise patience”. I responded with a rather insincere “I’m at your service”. Once again, I wasn’t in a hurry.

Eventually, only three of them went on the trip. They talked a lot as well. I’m not being judgemental, but these girls were obviously using. I don’t like drugs and I don’t like people who use drugs. I’ve seen what addiction can do to people. It is not in my place to pass judgement on people who use drugs, but I really don’t think using is the answer to whatever problems you’re going through.

Halfway through the trip, the original rider, who sat in the owner’s corner, screamed “Jesus!”, there was a brief moment of shock silence. She then said to the lady seated next to her “am I in my period? But I’m not in my period now!” I was shocked. She said there was blood on the backseat. That she had sat on blood. Someone else’s blood. I felt like dying.

Two suspects; either she peed blood on the backseat or it was the lady that sat on the same side of the backseat during the first ride. I wasn’t sure who it was. Though if I had to point a finger I’d point my thumb at the lady from the first ride. They started heaping insults on the “owner of the blood”. They went on about how the blood could be HIV contaminated or even some other virus or disease. I could see that the rider was really irked by the incident, or maybe she was just pretending to be.

Guys! Or no, let’s leave the guys out of this. Ladies, why? How do you guys menstruate? Is it normal for it to just pee out without warning? I also wondered why she didn’t just tell me. Looking back now, I kind of understand why. She couldn’t have gone; “excuse me, sir, I just peed menstrual blood on your seat. “

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to drop these ladies off. We arrived at their location. They sympathised with me and advised that I cleaned the backseat before going on another trip. As if…

I got some water. There was a rag in the boot. So there I was, cleaning what was most certainly menstrual blood on the backseat of my car on my first day as an Uber driver.

People are just wicked. It was just a spot the size of a small microscope, but it was hell.

Word of advice to fellow Uber drivers. Get a seat cover or whatever they call it. If some crazy lady could leave menstrual blood on my backseat, I could only imagine the other endless possibilities.

I managed to completely wipe the blood off the seat. At that point I was contemplating going home. It was around 21:30. I decided to keep going and try to reach the 00:00 mark I had earlier set for myself.

21:31, yes, the phone made the sound again. This time a guy’s name was showing as the rider. I would soon find out that the guy called the Uber for… Well I don’t want to say his girlfriend, but when the came out of the building, he kind of kissed her and… Don’t worry about the details.
Anyway, this trip exposed the shortcomings of the GPS. The map took me to an entirely different location, not far from the location of the rider. My saving grace was that I knew the hotel where the rider was. So when she called (yes, she called, not him), as soon as she mentioned the hotel, I knew where she was.
It was a long quiet trip. I didn’t say a word and neither did she. She sat in the front seat, not on the phantom blood.

Side thought: ladies and experts, how bad is menstrual blood?

After dropping her off I was still in the mood for one last ride for the night. I got the sound at 22:29. Another lady. Why were they all ladies? This lady though was a nice lady. We had a chat about a few things. She told me what she did for a living. I told her my ‘day job’. It was a good trip and the last one for the night.

On my way home I was stopped by the police at a roadblock. They asked for my ‘papers’. I didn’t have copies of my papers with me. I had left them with the VIO lady that processed my certificate of insurance. A ₦200 note did the trick. I was cleared. All of this happened within the space of four hours. I don’t know if I’m going to drive an Uber again.

Just know this; if you’re an Uber rider in Abuja, you might one day be dwelling on the backseat of my car. Not knowing that it was once drenched in menstrual blood. Ok it wasn’t really drenched. But I don’t sit there anymore.