Lyft service entertains lackadaisical, driver’s license-less student

Jack Speer

(Note: the following is the first in a series of stories of interesting encounters with Lyft drivers by Jack Speer. Quotes are paraphrased and are written as remembered.)

You’d think in the two years I’ve been eligible by age to own a driver’s license I’d have made the necessary allocations to do so, but here I am, nearly 18 and relying on the benevolence of paid strangers through the Lyft service to get nearly everywhere I don’t wish to bother my mom with inquiries of driving to. As a recipient of such services – home to independent workers who are scarcely regulated – I’ve met a number of unique characters. This is the first story in a series detailing these occurrences.

I waited with the searing sun’s rays showering my ghostly complexion on the curb outside the leasing office of my apartment complex for a white Prius. On my faintly illuminated phone screen I read the profile of today’s freelance, lower-class chauffeur. His name was Asa and his description read, “I’m a wizard.” His trousers were green and brown-striped, his hair shaggy and his t-shirt a gaudy blue and yellow tie-dye. He looked to be perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s. His movements appeared slow, his speech delayed and his gaze unfocused.

“Do you just use Lyft or are you an Uber driver as well?”

“I just use Lyft. I looked into Uber, ‘cause I like to do research on any company I choose to work for, but they do some fishy stuff, man. Like, they apparently pay their employees to take Lyft rides and give poor reviews.”

“Wow. That’s low.”

“Yeah man. I once had this customer give me a real hard time, but he accidentally slipped and told me he was an Uber driver and then I was onto him.”


“Yeah. The other reason I don’t use Uber is because they don’t do tips, but I think they factor the tip into the mandatory price.”


“Yeah. I don’t really know how to tip a Lyft driver. Like, I always give 20 percent at restaurants and stuff, but I don’t know what would be a reasonable tip for a Lyft ride. I do sometimes just do things in hopes of getting a bigger tip from my riders though.”

“Like what?”

“I was driving this couple to the airport, and just to like blow their minds a little, I told them I was a prophet from the future and that humans are actually just Artificial Intelligences built by an ancient alien race.”


“Yeah. So where are you going again?”

“Honey Ham, for lunch.”

“Cool, man. I’ve never been there. I’ve got my lunch in the dash.”

“Yeah. I saw that they’ve got gluten-free bread now and I was thinking about getting one of their sandwiches gluten-free.”

“You’re gluten-free?”

“Well, sometimes.”

“Nice. Me too. I’m also vegetarian, but I did eat meat twice in the last year. Just to feel the pain of the animal. I’m like trying to tap into my empathy, you know?”


“Anyway. I’m trying to, like, eat more gluten now though. I read this book about like ancient formless aliens that reached enlightenment by limiting themselves to human bodies. That’s interesting though, ‘cause like when we think of enlightenment we think of like … I dunno.”

“Going from … uh … the concrete to the abstract rather than the abstract to the concrete?”

“Yeah! That’s it. Anyway, one of the biggest difficulties these aliens had in taking on a physical, human form was digesting gluten. That’s why I’ve been eating more gluten. I’m just trying to like … evolve and stuff, you know?”

After he dropped me off at my destination, I entered the safety, comfort and familiarity of Texas Honey Ham and ordered two breakfast tacos. Halfway through eating my quintessentially “Chaptastic” meal, however, I knew I had surely been a victim to the the cruel beguiling of a Honey Ham mirage. Asa appeared stage left.
“Hey. I’m probably going to sit in this parking lot for a few, so let me know if you need a ride back.”