I have a dilemma every time I rate my driver I booked through any of the ride-sharing apps we have now. I make it a point to rate my driver, of course. For one: I am all about giving feedback, good or bad, especially since I observed that we tend to skip out on saying thanks but go full-throttle on complaints. Freedom of expression doesn’t just give you the right to complain but also the duty of giving credit where credit is due.
Routing back, I have a problem giving five stars to some drivers out there even though they got me to my destination, picked up at the right spot, and even saved me some time by choosing a route they know is faster. My problem stems from the throwaway comments they give, or the opinion on current affairs that come off as just plain wrong or even scary.
At around 11 p.m. one time, I found myself in a conversation about rape and sexual abuse with my driver. The driver, who said was a father of three girls, claimed to beat up rapists and cat-callers. But he also said that no woman in decent clothing ever gets disrespected. He went on to even ask me if it’s right for a woman to go out drinking in “inappropriate clothes” with her male friends.
I mumbled some sort of sound that would let him know I wasn’t about to contest him. I was also oddly grateful I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt that time. Not that my attire should be the deciding factor of whether I deserve a safe ride back home.
I know what you’re thinking: You’re just supposed to rate them as drivers, not as persons. No one is ever the judge of good or bad character. That’s why we resort to courts when they commit crimes. (Ahem, ahem, Mr. President) Still, with the level of tension in our current state, it’s scary to be in a car with someone who suddenly says people should be shot right then and there when a news bit comes up on the radio about criminals or even certain accused senators.
Upon relating my very 21st century, millennial problem, my boss told me her experience where she got it bad. Not only was the driver reckless but he kept calling the man who supposedly cut him in the lane a drug lord, got down the vehicle, and repeatedly uttered threats of violence. Complete with a motion to signify the use of a handgun. Needless to say, my boss reported it to the company and is awaiting their further response.
Still, that’s an outright violation of the rules. My boss did feel physically endangered and threatened as the guy even called up his friends, repeating threats over and over. It’s a good thing nothing worse happened.
It then makes looking down at these stars even more daunting. That sexist remark, that racist joke, and that view of how people deserve to die, due process or not, makes you want to play a little game of karma. A low rating would draw his overall score down, and most likely affect the number of times he gets booked. Perhaps the loss of bookings would at least lessen exposing more people to their ideals and propagating comments that are harmful.
But this driver is a man or woman out to make a living. They may also not be aware of what they’re saying. And in most cases, which makes this scenario difficult, do their job of picking up people and dropping them off well.
I’ve settled with minimizing my conversations with the driver, keeping it to whether he’ll use Waze to get to my area or if he knows a different way. Some things get mixed in, however. A passing beggar could merit a small anecdote, a stop at a traffic light could lead to a commentary of sorts.
Until we find a way off this winding road of confusion, I guess we just have to settle to give the stars appropriated to good drivers and reports when they’re just plain inefficient and especially when they’re found doing criminal acts. For me, I tend to give a 4 instead of a 5, without comment as to what went wrong. That one star left behind for that little hope that someday, all the other things in our paths would change.
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