Pulling up to a Top Golf entertainment complex about 10 p.m. on Saturday night, my soon-to-be passengers — a guy and a girl in their 30s — didn’t get in the car. Instead, they walked up to talk to me at the driver-side window.
“We’ve got a problem and hope you can help,” he says. “We just got dropped off by another Lyft driver a few minutes ago and she left her phone in his car. We didn’t know what to do so we requested another Lyft. That’s you.
“Can you call him?”
Apparently now, I am Lucutus. Of Borg. A member of “The Collective” of Lyft drivers, all secretly interconnected.
True, most of us do have identical glowing purple lanterns on our dashboards, and those are connected via bluetooth to a higher intelligence (our smartphones). What I didn’t realize is that some people therefore assume we are each similarly connected … TO EACH OTHER.
At the risk of revealing I’m a closeted Trek geek, fans of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” will recall that Capt. Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) once was famously temporarily “assimilated” into the deadly collective of dangerous hive aliens known as The Borg.
This giant spaceship, in the form of a massive cube, traversed the galaxy “assimilating” other species and operating with its captives droning along the corridors in a massive collective the way bees communicate in a hive.
These passengers believed (at least the woman who lost her phone … her boyfriend appeared to be secretly amused by the entire scenario …) that now that they had summoned a second Lyft driver, I would logically lead them to the missing phone.
After explaining that I didn’t personally know “Marshall,” the other Lyft driver, in this fifth-largest metro area in the country, and assuring the increasingly agitated girlfriend that her phone would likely be quickly found and they would get it back, we decided I would go ahead and pick them up and drive them home. Then they could plot their next move.
In more than 400 rides so far, I’ve personally returned a lost credit card, pair of glasses and set of keys. Each was easy to return using the “lost item” feature in the Lyft app to make personal contact with a previous passenger. On the credit card, the passenger reached out to me. On the glasses and keys, my next passenger found the item, alerted me and I logged them as found items.
On the way to their house, Mr. Boyfriend tried again calling the missing phone, and this time Marshall answered. He was now at the airport on a subsequent ride, and would swing by her house to return the phone when he was done.
There was elation in the back seat, and the conversation now turned to how to convert the only cash Ms. Girlfriend had — a $100 bill — into five twenties so Marshall could snag one for his trouble of driving back to return the phone.
This final step happened while I waited outside a drive-though liquor store around the corner from her house. It was a place she frequented since it was walking distance from her house, so she knew the clerks.
As she went in to break the bill, Mr. Boyfriend wasted no time during our alone moment to share with me that he carries two phones and has never lost either. I slow-nodded a masculine approval.
You see, in that moment we had our own connection. A guy connection. And it was greater than any damn Borg thing.
PS – If after reading, you’re inspired to give Lyft driving a try, make sure to use a driver referral bonus when you first fill out the application. Use code MIKE17396 and we will both enjoy a bonus for rides you give during your first month. (You don’t need to drive in Phoenix for the code to work.)