Today I had, by far, the worst experience during my time as an Uber driver.
I gave a ride to a mentally disabled married couple that both worked at McDonalds and they both smelled really bad. But the husband smelled of literal poop and the stench transferred on to my rear seat where he was sitting.
When they got in my car, I immediately noticed the horrible odor but I was hoping and praying that the smell was coming from something inside of his clothes or that he had stepped in dog poop or something and the smell was coming from the bottom of his shoe.
But I wasn’t that lucky. When they got out of my car, I opened all the windows and drove down the highway for over 10 minutes but the smell didn’t go away which meant that the source of the smell was still in my car.
I pulled over and sure enough, the side of the rear seat where the husband was sitting, smelled like feces. My entire car has an inescapable odor of feces. The odor is so strong that I’m literally having a hard time driving without holding my breath.
What should I do?
Obviously, I have to turn off Uber rides immediately because there’s no way I’m going to let a passenger get in my car. They would probably vomit or at a minimum report a complaint about the unbearable odor. So I switched over to Uber deliveries but after one delivery I could no longer bear the odor and decided to stop until I get my car professionally cleaned and seats shampooed and disinfected….maybe with gasoline and a match.
Now I face a few questions:
- Do I report this ride to Uber?
- Will Uber cover the cost of the cleaning or lost income due to not being able to use my car?
- Or will they cover the cost of a rental car so I can still earn an income while my car is being cleaned/dried? I can’t imagine getting a car cleaned will take more than one day, but I’ve never been in this exact situation so I’m not sure. For feces, does the car need some sort of special cleaning that disinfects germs because honestly, this is probably technically a biohazard. I’m no scientist but I know shit isn’t super great to deal with.
- What good would reporting this passenger to Uber do? Telling from the conversation I had with them, I’m pretty sure they were both mentally challenged or had really low IQ’s. But it was super sweet that they were married and both worked at McDonalds. I asked them if they met at work but they said they actually met at Lennox park near where they live. They even complained that the company wouldn’t let them work at the same location because they didn’t want any romances taking place between workers in their restaurants. This was a super cute couple.
What’s even more disturbing is that this guy works at a food serving establishment (McDonalds) and he wears pants covered in feces on the outside of them. I picked them up from a shopping mall so he was probably wearing his “nice” clothes since they were out shopping or might have been watching a movie at the theater there. I can’t even imagine what condition he wears his work clothes in if his “going out” clothes were soiled in feces.
So I made the executive decision to call Uber and ask them how they typically handle this sort of situation. I specifically let them know all the details about the situation and that the couple was very sweet and polite and not dangerous in any way. The only issue was that they literally soiled my rear seats with human feces, leaving me unable to further use my car to earn a living on Uber or even use my car for personal use for that matter.
I was hesitant to report this situation to Uber because they’re a super sweet mentally disabled couple who probably needs Uber for transportation to get to work, etc. and I wouldn’t want my complaint to negatively affect their ability to make a living or get to medical appointments etc. But on the flip side, if they’re competent enough to have full time jobs at McDonalds dealing with people’s food, they should be able wash and wear clean clothes.
I also decided to let Uber know about the situation because I don’t want other Uber drivers to have to deal with this same situation. Is there a way Uber can sympathetically communicate with this passenger and kindly let them know that they need to wear clean clothes when taking Uber rides?
If you think about it, although it’s sort of sad and comical, it’s actually a pretty serious matter and shitty situation, literally because I can’t earn an income now (for a few hours anyway) and can’t even use my car without holding my breath.
I’ve never encountered a heart breaking situation like this…am I being overly sensitive? But dude, this guy works in the kitchen at McDonalds and he probably shouldn’t be allowed to if he can’t wash and wear clothes without feces on them. And he’s damaging other people’s property and in this case, their ability to earn a living…well for a day or two in a worst case, which isn’t life or death, but not nothing either.
The Current Status
So I called Uber and the support girl said she had never encountered this type of situation while working at Uber or since college. She chuckled and thanked me for handling the situation so professionally and compassionately and she said the next step would be for me to simply respond to the email that she’s going to send me after we hang up which outlines the process to have Uber reimburse me for the car cleaning fees.
Below is a screenshot of the email that she sent me and also a screenshot of the support ticket.
Rather than reply to the email, I decided to handle the correspondence through their helpdesk support ticketing system. Below is a screenshot of the support ticket so far. I basically copied most of the beginning of this post since it was a good description of the situation. I was responding to the ticket while I was writing this blog post and I literally wrote this blog post minutes after this event occurred today.
So this is where this issue currently stands. Tomorrow morning I’m going to get my car professionally cleaned because it needs to be done regardless of what Uber’s response is.
I’ll post an update on this shitty situation as soon as I hear back from Uber. Uber has been a really great company to deal with so far so I’m confident they’ll resolve the matter fairly. It would be really cool if they paid for a Tesla rental while my car gets cleaned though! haha
Oh and here’s the picture they requested of the “damages.” I let them know you don’t have to see feces in order for it to cause an odor or be present. The feces is soiled deep within the fibers of the seat material. The passenger was a heavy set guy and the ride was over 20 minutes long so the feces is deeply impacted within the seat material without a doubt because we drove over a million bumps in the road and each bump pushed the feces more deeply into the fibers of the material. I can tell by the horrid stench. I happened to have a clean towel in my gym bag so I used it to try and wipe the seat down but it didn’t improve the smell at all. Now I’m also in the hole one hotel style high thread count bath towel from Walmart, which is another $18 down the toilet. haha.
And to be perfectly clear, I’m not the best writer so my words probably don’t accurately reflect my tone or convey how I actually feel about the situation. I’m not angry at the rider, at Uber, or the situation. This was no one’s fault and there’s no one to blame. It’s just an unfortunate crappy thing that happened to me today. I still don’t know how the rider should be dealt with…but I know he probably shouldn’t be handling people’s food or taking Uber rides wearing the pants he was wearing…that I do know for certain.
I’m also only writing this because I would bet a billion dollars that the passenger in question will never read this. If I thought there was even the slightest chance that they would read this, I wouldn’t be blogging about this or I would at least omit any information that would let them know they were the subject of this post. And if they turned out to not be mentally challenged, I would probably burn in hell for hurting this sweet couple’s feelings.
Update: Link to Unavoidable Unfortunate Uber Experience Part 2