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I’ve been doing some back-seat amateur journalism for the last year. I’ve been asking my Uber drivers two questions: How long have you driven for Uber? and Why do you drive? And some of the answers have been quite fascinating:

“I was a petroleum engineer. I moved to Denver from Wisconsin to work for the oil company. I hung on through all the layoffs until six months ago, but I got caught in the last one. So I’m driving until I find a career again. Do you have any advice?”


“My daughter got sick. My job wasn’t flexible. I couldn’t take her to the doctor. I drive for Uber because I can do it on my schedule. When she is better, maybe I’ll look for another job. I don’t want to drive here in the winter.”


“I need to get a plane ticket to Memphis. I think I can earn it in a week.”


“I’m driving until I learn to code.”


“We moved from Corpus Christi to San Antonio to give our kids a better education and more opportunities. Our family thought we were crazy for moving so far away. We love it here and the school is great. But it’s much more expensive in San Antonio. I had to start working. I can drive for Uber at night while my husband and kids are asleep. I pick the kids up in the morning and take them to school, then I sleep while they are in school and my husband is at work.”


“I don’t know man. I don’t know. All the opportunities are just going away. Until the Big Man comes you know. And he’s not coming no he’s not. How long? Two months. The world has just gone crazy you know. Not till the Big Man. No sir.”


“I’m deaf.” He says by showing me a message he has typed into his phone. “Thank you for typing in your address. Is it OK if I drive you?”


“Two years ago I got bone cancer. I needed to do something where I could work when I felt good, but, you know, I was on chemo. So, there were times when I just needed to stay home. By the way, I went to the clinic this morning. My M counts [not sure I got the terminology right] are zero. I guess I’m finally cancer free. Today is a good day.”

What’s your Uber story?