For rideshare drivers, the only night busier than New Years Eve is Halloween. I’m not sure why. I thought Halloween was a candy orgy for grade school kids in plastic masks. But in the years between when I pulled a sheet over my head and knocked doorbells and when my oldest son moved out on his own, Halloween has evolved into another reason for adults to party and pub crawl. This year in East Lansing, Halloween weekend fell on a home football game Saturday, creating the most profitable weekend in my short rideshare career.
Around one thirty AM, a rider requested pickup a few miles out of the party’s epicenter. Spartan Village is an older apartment complex owned by the university. On the perimeter of the campus, this housing center is reserved for married, international students. And as I drove into the dark apartment complex, I wondered if I had the right address.
The complex was dark. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, and I wasn’t too surprised. Foreign students aren’t in tune with American holidays like Halloween, and the novelty of a home football game had worn off by the end of October. As my GPS announced “Your destination is on the right,” I expected to find a lone apartment with lights still burning. Instead, I found three passengers standing on the curb.
“Are you looking for an Uber?”
“Yeah. We need to get home,” came the reply.
“Where are you headed?”
“To her house.” Both the guys shrugged, and pointed to the shorter brunette standing between them.
Most of their conversation stayed in the back seat. They didn’t address many of their words to me directly, but during our next fifteen minute ride, I discovered they had been in downtown East Lansing, which was two miles away from their pick up. After a few drinks too many, they decided to walk home rather than pay the surging Uber rates. The problem was . . . home was more than seven miles away on the south side of Lansing. Life looks differently through 98 proof lenses.
As I drove away, Susie was trying to get her bearings. She was still convinced she could have navigated the trio safely home. As she gazed out the window, I turned onto Harrison St. The street sign appeared briefly under the streetlights harsh glow.
“Oh. . . Harrison St . . . We were on that one.” Susie called out. Her pointed finger followed the sign.
“Yeah, about an hour ago,” replied one of her friends.
The average person walks at two miles per hour. I’m not sure about an intoxicated’s gate, but if they can put one foot in front of another in a straight line, I would expect they could manage one to one and a half miles an hour. I pulled into Susie’s driveway six miles from where I picked the trio up off the curb. Had they found their way, they would have turned the key in the lock about the same time the eastern sky released its hold on the night and the sun popped up from the horizon.
Sometimes it’s better to pay the surge.