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The 12 types of Uber drivers you’ll encounter in Chicago

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

I very much enjoy ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft, mostly because I no longer have to wait 30 minutes flailing my arms like a bird person trying to hail a cab. Nowadays, I can pull up an app on my phone and find a ride in a relatively short period of time. I've spent enough time using ride shares that I was able to identify a list of 12 types of Uber drivers you’re likely to encounter in Chicago.

The first timer: It’s the driver’s first night with Uber, and it‘s up to you to decide how it's going to go. You can either be a drunk stumbling home from Taco Bell or a cordial, supportive patron. They’ll say, “you’re my first” and the two of you will look into one another’s eyes for a moment until someone starts beeping behind you in traffic.

The ‘not so Uber’ driver: This poor person is not your Uber driver. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You get into their car, and they respond with a terrified, “what the hell are you doing!?” You disregarded their lack of Uber signage or illuminated pink mustache and hopped into their back seat anyway. 

The intense personal caller: It just so happens you got into the car when the driver is having the fight of the century with their significant other. You don’t know if they’re telling you to shut up or they’re talking to their loved one. 

The Acqua Di Gio representative: The driver’s car smells like they spilled an entire bottle of cologne on the floor. It reeks of Giorgio Armani’s Acqua Di Gio, and as the car comes to a screeching halt when you reach your stop, three empty bottles of cologne will roll out by your feet.

The driving dead: This driver is sick—very sick. They look as if they died earlier in the week and continued driving for Uber. You’ll see a pile of tissues on the front seat and wonder if you’re going to catch the same bug.

The conversationalist: This one’s a talker, going above and behind to find out everything about you as if they’re writing your biography. Depending on your mood, this can either be a blessing or nightmare. At first you’re reserved, but eventually open up to the point where you’re crying by the end of the ride. You give them five stars, a nice tip and then write a Facebook status about how not all Uber drivers are bad.

The lost ones: These drivers don’t know where they’re going nor do they realize it’s 2015 and their phone likely has GPS capabilities. For starters, you’ll watch them drive right past your house when they arrive, and slam on the brakes about a block and a half away as you do a speedy chicken strut or casual ‘jog of shame’ to get to the car. Once you’re inside and sweating profusely, they’ll ask you for the directions and the best route to take.

The early drop-off: This driver will ask, “Is here okay?” They don’t want to navigate through the complexities of a parking lot or a curbside drop-off at the airport. Instead, they’d rather drop you off in the middle of Lake Shore Drive. 

The temperature extremist: The temperature inside the car is equal to hell. You’d think this driver was making bacon on a hot plate in the backseat before you got in. You try to crack the window but it's got child locks. Throughout the ride, you fall in and out of consciousness as a symptom of heat stroke. Conversely, you may have a driver who has the air conditioning on full blast, like you’ve taken a trip to the arctic tundra of planet Hoth. By the end of the ride, you’re encased inside a solid block of ice.

The aspiring singer: This person is using every song as a chance to prepare for The Voice. This songbird will look at you through the rearview mirror as they belt out Selena Gomez’s "Same Old Love." If you’re lucky, the two of you will proceed to drive around shouting Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” to everyone you pass by.

Speedy Gonzalez: Fast and furious drivers normally operate regular taxis, but every once in a while you get a speed freak Uber driver. They zip in and out of traffic while you hold on for dear life, but you're also pleased that you’re going to be on time for your appointment. 

The creeper: The fact this driver's profile picture looks like a mug shot is never a good sign, but you really need to get to that party—big mistake. This driver will ask you if you’re on Facebook, if you're single and then inform you that you’re their last ride so they are free to hang out at this party you're going to… if that’s cool.