One afternoon I picked up a young woman at a local hospital. She was getting off work, traffic was heavy and it was going to be a 25-minute ride to her house. As I pointed the Altima west and our journey together began, she got a phone call.
Now, the thing to remember about taking or making phone calls in a rideshare is you’re not in your own private vehicle. Someone’s in that front left seat behind the wheel, and unless they’re driving with earbuds in (I don’t), we’re sorta in on the conversation, whether we like it or not.
So my passenger … we’ll call her Sherry … takes a call that quickly devolves into an argument. Boyfriend trouble, it sounds like. I try to to tune it out, since who really wants to listen in on someone else’s love quarrel? That is, until she drops the phrase “No-No-No .. You’re GONNA get that DNA test!”
Sherry, I soon learn, is one-third of what seems to be tricky three-way romance. She and the boyfriend had been together for about a year, except during one brief time when they broke up for a month. That’s the month the other woman enters into the picture, gets pregnant and now stakes a claim on Sherry’s man. Sherry doesn’t believe the baby is his and is demanding a paternity test after the baby is born. But mom-to-be says not so fast, since he’s already promised to take care of the kid. Sherry’s not buying it and has hatched a scheme to get the test done on the sly during a visitation.
Did I mention he’s trying to have it both ways, living with Sherry weekdays and with the other woman on the weekends?
The call ends, and — recognizing she’s just dumped all this sordid detail on a stranger’s ears — says, “So, what did you think of THAT?”
“It sounds like a tough situation,” I reply, turning on my best sympathetic/diplomatic tone.
“Yeah,” she sighs, her voice slumping. “It is. What should I do? I mean, really, what do you think I should do?”
Me? Hey, I’m just driving you home lady. But OK, if you insist (and she did), I’ll give it a go.
So, for the final 10 minutes of the ride, I slip on my amateur counseling hat and try to offer her my best relationship advice which, I have to say, she really seemed to appreciate.
Yes … they needed to get the DNA test to know for sure. No … she shouldn’t put up with him splitting his time between both women’s houses. Yes … I think he’s probably a good guy and is trying to do what’s right by the baby while still being with her. But … he’s definitely going to have to make a choice about which woman to stay with. And he needs to do that sooner rather than later.
We get to her house, I drop her off and she waves a cheerful goodbye, actually seeming like she’s feeling a bit better after our first session. I pull away, emotionally drained.
Is roadside psychiatry in my future? Maybe on the receiving end. Probably not the other way around.
In hindsight, I don’t think my advice was that great. She didn’t leave a tip.
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