I’ve been driving on the weekends for some extra spending cash, and the other night I worked the last University of Utah home football game. It was the first game I’d ever worked.
The pre-kickoff hours came and went without incident, other than the one passenger who got in the back seat toting what I’m pretty sure was a bong. Through a cloud of smoke, he claimed he was a scientist, but unless he was researching how to bring a bong in an Uber, I’m not sure I believed him.
When halftime passed, I got into a rhythm. I would pick someone up at the stadium, drive them home, and then immediately get pinged to the stadium again. And the later the game got, the more inebriated my passengers became. (Even though alcohol is not *allowed* in the stadium. Big wink!)
The stadium can be a confusing place for a sober person, let alone a fan who can’t quite remember what he’s doing outside in the freezing cold on a Saturday night and who is this person next to him and why is everyone being SO LOUD??
One ping came in, and on the way to the stadium I got a phone call.
Passenger: “Hi. Is this Uber?”
Me: “Yes, this is Uber speaking.” I speak for all of Uber. Even though he had ordered a Lyft.
Passenger: “OK, yeah, where are you?”
Me: “I’m driving toward the stadium.”
Him: “I can’t see you.”
Me: “I’m not there yet. Where are you?”
Him: “Um… Um… Oh, I know. We’re at the entrance.”
Me (deep breaths): “There are several entrances.”
Him: “We’re at the one where you can see the mountainssss. I’m by a pole.”
I took a wild guess, and then another one, and then another one, until I found him. He was indeed by a pole. That was when he leaned into the passenger-side window, stared at me for a bit and asked, “Are you fuzzy or am I?”
My next ping came from a woman, who, again, immediately called.
Her: “Is this Uber?”
Me: “Yes, my name is Uber. Where are you?”
Her: “I’m trying to get out. Which way do I go?”
Me (closing my eyes): “It depends on where you are.”
Her: “Well, it’s raining where I am.”
At this point, I was relieved that we live in a state where the rain falls in two-square-foot spaces, so all I would need to do was look for the tiny cloud and follow it down, and hope it wasn’t Charlie Brown.
Me: “Do you see a crowd of people moving in a particular direction?”
Me: “Follow them.”
A few minutes later, I received another phone call from the passenger.
Her: “I’m on the street.”
I really hoped it was the same street I was on. Swarms of fans were spilling out of the stadium and hiking to the parking lots. It was mayhem.
Me: “It might help me to spot you if I knew what you were wearing.”
Her: “Good idea! What are you wearing?”
Me: “Well, I’m wearing a dark Toyota Avalon. But what are you wearing?”
Her: “Oh! Right.” She paused. “What am I wearing?” she said, I assumed to a friend.
Her friend (enunciating each word clearly): “She’s wearing a Red. Utes. Sweatshirt.”
I glanced at the sea of fans, all wearing red Utes sweatshirts.
Me: “Great. I’ll see you soon.”
Amazingly, we found each other. We hugged. It’s at tender moments like these where I like to casually mention that puking in an Uber will cost you a hundred and fifty bucks.
The good thing about driving fans home from Utes games (besides earning extra cash) is that they are so grateful to find you. They treat you like you are the last transport off an island overrun with zombies.
But for the actual zombie apocalypse, readers, when you call your Uber or Lyft, can you please wear something that is easy to spot but simultaneously won’t call attention to the undead hordes? That way, we might just survive.
Brodi Ashton is a New York Times best-selling author who lives in the Salt Lake City area. She’s also an occasional columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune.