Inspired by the initiative taken by Sanjiva Weerawarana (CEO, WSO2, Inc) who converted his experience into inspirational chain of words in his own blog (‘My Life as an Uber Driver’);

Made me think over couple of nights to feel the role of a driver. Well Obviously, I am a driver by my self for me and my family. Therefore; What i wanted to try is not just a being driver, but a taxi driver.

Initiated my self in getting all the required documents submitted to become an UBER driver after reading ‘his inspirational post’. Also, within a very short period of time I managed to gather the required resources and got everything approved. Thereafter, I got the access to the UBER Driver app as well as a Approved Driver.

Why I chose to become a taxi driver should no longer be a point to amuse or a question as the reason is obviously what mentioned above. But the experience is totally different.

Building up the guts to change the role of Engineer to a driver is not an easy task at all.

Specially, when you think about the responsibility of it.

For a moment if a CEO can, why can’t I?’ became my motive factor. But that motive wasn't enough. I turned down my self several times just after putting the UBER ‘Online’, or by rejecting the received request for more than 4 times initially on several different occasions.

Shush!! Yes, I kept everything a secret from parents, neighbors and my best buddies, as it obvious that they wouldn't willing to see me as a taxi driver.

The mindsets of many locals in SL aren't really impressive about the career of a taxi driver.

Bitter truth is if you ever say such to a closer fellow, what you will be mostly able to hear as a response will be “Oh; you are a taxi driver?” with a dull face or a discriminative face. But most of the same will appreciate your courage to earn, if you are a driver for KANGAROOS or for COWBOYS or for people in another country. Some may agree and some may not.

Keeping all the stories and What others may think aside, I kept my leap ahead experience it as theres nothing to loose at all. Except for what others think of me. Anyway to keep it low-profile I ensured to take the precautions to keep it as a ‘Shush’.

Driving daily with tuktuks, leylands and mopeds in the traffic is a headache for anyone who has driving experience.

Role of the taxi driver is when you have to deal with those while concerning about passengers comfort, while avoiding harsh brakes, unexpected accelerations and being aggressive when driving along with ‘decent’ tuktuk, leyland and moped drivers.

Diary Begins;

In a late evening, Just as I made the profile on-line I received the first notification beep for a pickup. Was shocked to receive the first notification, but I kept the phone just as it is without accepting the request until the request fade-away. I decided to turn off-line. Just as I took the phone to switch, I received the second request notification beep. As it fade-away I turned off-line back again.

A day after in an evening I overheard a conversation between my better half and her best friend planning to go out. It turned out to be a golden opportunity to me. I simply turned them to my lab-rats and made them my first passengers on Uber. Since I was the nearest to them as they were at home too, the request I made from her phone was received.

1st Ride : Non other than my better half and bestie who were my lap-rats for the first ride. For the ride of around 2km got billed around 150LKR+. From that i figured out how the card payment is happening. Just as I drop them to their location I received the next pickup request.

2nd Ride : It was an old couple from Nawala to Ja-Ela. The ride got billed around 1500LKR+, but it was a rush hour in the route though it was an evening. It took more than one and a half hours to reach for their destination.

Since i wasn’t comfortable with the area decided to select my destination as Home and turned back. Afterwards; i received two pickup request one after another which falls under my route. Those two completed my 3rd and 4th Rides.

3rd Ride : It was a Muslim couple from Kandana to Maligawatta. But that old lady made my self think twice about driving for a passenger, as she was rude and unpleasant. She was the first to appear out from their gate and she raised her tone to command me to open the boot to put her bags. Afterwards to increase the AirCon to the Max. Once her husband stepped into the car, she was a like a silent cat. I felt like chasing her out, and I was waiting to drop them on their destination due to the unbearable cold inside the vehicle. She was obviously wrapped with their costume from the top to bottom and seated in the rear seat. Somehow I managed to control my patience and drop them off and accept the next ride just after it.

4th Ride : A mother and a son from Ananda College to Koswatta and it was around 10:45pm. They wanted me to drive through the McDrive-Thru and I realized that it was their first time in drive-through. I made my self assist them nicely while being a driver to select their dinner meal and dropped them on their destination.

Afterwards I turned the app Offline and drove back home to have my dinner with my better half who was waiting for me.

Indeed a good experience for me. Few of the passenger do had a chat along with me while on their ride. Some inquired about my life in Uber and I told that I wasn’t a driver at all, but an engineer by the profession. They were amazed. One inquired about the reason for driving Uber and was it due to any financial difficulty. I was like Not at all, but to experience how it feels like. The old person who were in my second ride advised me not to drive as a driver as due to the society; it wont bring a good reputation to me. Well I knew it, but they were nice to say it decently.

I made my self think over the night about how different people are and how difficult it is to be an taxi driver. The responsibility within that role was wordless, while maintaining the patience to the peak. Not every passenger you get is friendly at all. That made me realized by the 4th rides I had. But made me wondered if it too quick to take such a decision about the people who travel and a journey of a taxi driver.

I decided to write this down and publish once I complete my 6th ride.

On another weekend after couple of weeks I had to drop my wife and her bestie from Kelly-Felder and on the way back I turned the app to check the surge areas, since I was free for couple of hours. Just while checking the surge areas and rate I didn’t notice the app has turned on-line and rang for a ride.

5th Ride : The ride was from a young couple who didn’t even bother about my presence at till they reached for their destination (Hyde Park). We sometime being passengers don’t much bother to discuss all the personal matters with our loved-ones while driver being the driving seat. But, ideally drivers do process all the words they hear while driving. What many passengers don’t realize is the surrounding or the audience around, to open an openly-conversation with closed ones. After all, They even forgot to tell me that the payment was made by card at-least as a courtesy.

6th Ride : It was two party girls from Kotte to Attidiya just on the Bellanwila Perahera day, where the roads are closed around the area and towards Attidiya. Even before reaching their destination I got alert for another ride within a short radius, which I accepted. That ride made me realize the intresting parts of being a driver.

Every moment you get an opportunity to meet a new face, a new person whom you haven’t even seen or known before. The two girls were very friendly to open a conversation along with my self while we blocked in the traffic jam. They were amazed to hear the occupation I hold and seeing my self as a Uber Driver.

I had to explain them the reality of it, as theres nothing to discriminate at all. Its just regarding the way our mindsets have build up and that is something we should change. I wasn’t riding Uber for my survival at all, but just to explore and meet different faces in society.

7th Ride : It was the ride which I accepted, which is from Bellanwila Park to Piliyandala. Since it was the Perahera day and the main roads were closed, I decided to use the assistance from UBER for Directions to the pickup location where I drove and ended up in an dead-end next to a lake which is all dark and isolated.

Never rely on the maps in UBER, Lessons learnt.

The road didn't have a enough space at all to make a U-Turn apart from reversing the vehicle as from right side it was the river from few foot, and from other-side it was a fence. After a hell of a time in reversing the vehicle carefully in dark for almost 300 meters, managed to make a Turn and drive along to my own mind map and reach the destination. Afterward took the passengers to Piliyandala from Bellanwila. After reaching the destination, i defined my destination back to home with the intension of receiving rides in-between But didn't receive any ride in the return journey.

In a way, life of a Driver is so challenging than we think. But from a perspective it is really interesting as it is always linked with the curiosity of meeting and smiling with new faces, new passengers.

Being a UBER Partner is not being like with other Taxi Partners as i felt as you don’t have to stick any sticker or logo in your vehicle. Also the registration process was all made upon on-line where I didn't had to go to any office for provide documentations.

I personally enjoyed being a Uber Driver and look-in forward to drive further when I drive alone, as long as ‘Ride towards a Destination’ is there in the driver app.

Your driver could be using the “Ride towards a Destination” feature while they are reaching for their destination alone, to provide you a ride.

Therefore, Always remember that your driver can be a CEO of a company, a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer or a well reputed or well-not-reputed person. He or she may be serving you as a service, for his own pleasure and satisfaction. May be, Not just because they need a job or to earn money.

Even if the driver is only doing UBER as their career, the driver has his or her own dignity. Respect for it. He or She didn’t just beg for money, but they invested on wheels and provide you a service and earn from it.

Never discriminate anyones occupation.

Lack of the awareness to discriminate is more common in the society we live in today, which we shouldn't. No matter how much a person can say that they can drive a taxi, its not a hard task, etc… The responsibility should be given to test it. The responsibility of it is not easy as saying in verbally or seeing it as a passenger. Though I never discriminate my perception even change towards after initiating of driving once for UBER.

So, Be Nice! Greet with a Smile!

There’s nothing to discriminate being a UBER driver.
Every occupation/service matters from the point of Humanity!

Writer | Vlogger | Techie | Technical Tester (Snr-QAE)