I learned a very important lesson in patience last Friday, courtesy of Uber.
My radio show starts at 6am, so I always make it a point to get to studio latest 5.45am. Just to get into the groove, banter with my co-hosts before we kick off and so on.
That morning, Uber had other plans for me.
I placed my first request at 5.15am, in case the Uber driver was violently opposed to GPS and needed detailed directions to my house, which is almost always the case in my experience. To my delight, my request was accepted almost immediately. I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that my driver was completing a trip and would be with me in 17 minutes. Fair enough, I thought. Gives me time to chill a bit, and I’ll still be in time for the show.
17 minutes later, I checked the app and noticed that the driver’s car was in exactly the same spot it was 17 minutes previously, that he still seemed to be completing the trip, and was STILL ’17 minutes away’.
Hmmm. I decided to call him. Conversation went as follows.
Driver: Yes, hello?
Me: Good morning ssebo.
Driver: Yes madam.
Me: Where have you reached now? You don’t seem to be moving and it’s been almost 20 minutes since you accepted my request.
Driver: Now you see madam, I have this very bad customer, I think he is drunk, he told me to wait for him here and went inside the building, and told me not to end the trip, so I am just here, and he hasn’t come out. Can you imagine? Such a person! And I am here, just seeing these requests, but now I can’t tell you how long I will take, these customers really give us a hard time…
Me: Erm, it’s ok. Let me just cancel and request another one.
Driver: Thank you madam.
I hung up.
Please note, I felt sorry for the guy. I understood that he couldn’t end the trip until his wayward customer came back out of the building otherwise he might not get his money. I just didn’t need the whole story. I cursed the customer on the driver’s behalf, and thought no more of it.
Checking the time, I was relieved that I still had time, if I was lucky enough to get another driver right away, to get to work on time. So I requested another Uber.
Lo and behold, who accepts?
The driver stranded with the wayward customer.
Incredulous, I wondered why the hell he was accepting my request when he was stuck. (Please note, his car STILL hadn’t moved, he was STILL ‘completing a trip’, and he was STILL ’17 minutes away’). I cancelled, and requested another one.
Same dude accepts. I’m thinking, what the hell?! Why can’t he let me prosper and let another driver pick me up and take me to work?
Getting irritated now, I cancelled, called him and asked him to stop accepting seeing as he bloody well wasn’t able to pick me up.
I took a few deep breaths, reopened the app, and requested again. After a few seconds, a driver accepted. ‘’Hurray!’’, I thought, even though I could see that the guy was in Kololo and was going to take 17 minutes (what WAS it with that number that morning?!) to get to me. I’d miss the first song on air, no big deal.
I sat. And waited. Watching the little car icon on the map.
So I call the guy. He answers. Clearly, this guy is not in a moving car. Conversation went as follows.
Me: (deep breath) Good morning ssebo. Where have you reached?
Driver: (clearly giving zero fucks) I’m in Kololo. At Meditteraneo. Where are you?
Me: (trying to unclench my teeth, fists, buttocks, soul) In Kansanga.
Driver: (having now gone past zero and entered negative fucks territory) Haaaa, but Kansanga is far! I’m here in Kololo…
Me: (losing it now) SO WHY DID YOU ACCEPT MY REQUEST?!
I hung up on him.
If I may digress, I hate the fact that smartphones have robbed us of the satisfaction of slamming down the phone. I miss that. Trevor Noah was right.
Anyway, at this point I had to accept that I was going to be late for work. I messaged my co-hosts, who told me not to worry and to just get in when I could.
Taking a deep breath, I requested yet another Uber.
My request was accepted in less than a minute.
My phone rang, and hoping that this would finally be the ride that would get me to work, I answered. Conversation went as follows.
Driver: Good morning madam! Please could you direct me to your precise location?
Me: Of course!
I went on to describe my precise location to the lady on the other end of the line. I even asked her if she was familiar with specific landmarks, she replied in the affirmative. She was coming from Nsambya, traffic wasn’t bad yet, she’d be with me in 15 minutes.
My Friday was starting to look up.
Until it wasn’t.
20 minutes later, my driver still hadn’t turned up. I tried really hard to be a bit more patient- I mean, I was already late for the show, for goodness’ sake- but after 25 minutes had passed, I had to call her. Conversation went as follows.
Me: (trying not to sound panicked) HelloYesNyaboWhereHaveYouReachedAreYouAlmostHere?!
Driver: (speaking painfully slowly. Eh, my people) Yes Nyabo. Nooooow, I am here at Buziga…
Me: Hold up. BUZIGA?! How?! Why?!
Driver: Oh no, no. I am these ends of Makindye.
Desperate, exasperated, I took her through the directions to my house, again. I spoke extra slowly. I told her to get to a specific landmark and PARK. THE. CAR. THEN. CALL. ME.
All because I was too scared to cancel this one and call another one.
I felt like I was being Punk’d or something.
Anyway, she arrived at my house at 7.15am. Almost an hour after she’d accepted my request.
I’d been standing outside my gate, just to make sure she didn’t drive past and end up in Jinja or some shit. Imagine my horror when the car approaches and I see an elderly lady behind the wheel, old enough to be my mother.
All my rage just evaporated. There was no way I could blast this woman!
I still can’t believe I paid for the bloody ride.
But now apart from being late for work and pissed off, I have to deal with the tinge of guilt at being mad at an elderly lady.
I got to work. Guess what I was told?
‘’Ah, no worries. We were off air anyway. Some problem at the mast.’’