I don’t mind drunk people. Usually. I’m happy to take them home safely. Uber is an excellent resource for people to protect themselves and others when they are planning to have a good time at the bars.

In fact, in all my Uber adventures, I’ve had only one really bad experience with a drunk.

I picked up three seamen at the Oceanfront after a free concert by a country star. The crowd was enormous and finding these guys was a challenge. But we were able to pick a rendezvous point and get them in my Corolla around tenth street and Atlantic.

They were in varying stages of inebriation. Carl, who called for the Uber and rode shotgun, was fine. I couldn’t tell if he’d been drinking at all. Steve was clearly drunk. A bit wobbly and silly, but communicative. Then there was Gus. Gus was gone. Long gone.

There was a large surge price, and I was happy to learn that the guys needed to get back to base way up in Norfolk. This was going to be a profitable trip for me.

But I had to work for it.

As soon as he plopped into the seat, Gus found the button and lowered his window all the way. It was a nice evening, so I had no problem with that.

As we inched our way through the mob leaving the concert and down Atlantic, Gus leaned way out the window and accosted every female in sight.

“Hey, shorTAY! Wassyer number? Wassyer number bayBAY?”

He kept it up with gusto for the ten minutes it took me to get off the strip and down Norfolk Avenue.

Once we were out of view of any actual females, Gus started serenading imaginary women with an extemporaneous country song. Gus is no singer and certainly no song writer. And Gus, at least when he’s drunk, is as crude and obnoxious as a young man can be. His “song” was the filthiest, most obscene compilation of profanity and perversion you can imagine.

I’ll spare you any direct quotes. I’ll just say that when one lyric came out, “I’m gonna rape you  all night long,” everyone in the car reacted.


“No, dude!”

“That’s going too far. That’s not cool.”

He dropped the rape theme, but the vulgarity went on endlessly. It started annoying and only got worse. He ignored his buddies’ continued appeals to knock it off. He was enjoying the provocation.

Carl suggested I turn up the radio to drown him out. Bad idea. Gus just got louder.

He might have gone on for the whole trip, had not a passing vehicle distracted him. We had made it to Interstate 264 West. A gang of rednecks in a pickup with radio blaring whooped at Gus as they raced by at eighty miles an hour.

“F- yeah! Those are my n–ers!” Gus shouted.

Then, with head and shoulders still out the window, Gus yelled at the next passing car, “Wassup, my n–ers!”

That was too much.

“Whoah, man! No way. You’re not gonna yell that crap out of my car. Get in here.” I said.

Carl and Steve backed me up here, but he kept at it. Every car was apparently driven by his “n–ers.” I tried to put his window up, but he was putting all his weight on it and I was afraid he was going to break the window or its mechanism.

“I’m not doing anything!” Gus protested.

“Get inside and let him close the window!” Carl shouted.

“I’m not doing anything!”

“You’re being a rude jerk. It’s this man’s car, Gus. Let him put up the window.”

Steve, who apparently outranks the other two, tried to take command. But he was too drunk to be convincingly authoritative and Gus ignored him.

Eventually, he stopped yelling (and singing) and was just hanging his head out the window. Like a dog does.

“As long as he keeps quiet, I don’t care about the window,” I said. In fact, I kind of liked the window down in case Gus threw up.

With fifteen minutes left in the ride, Gus fell asleep with his face dead into the wind.

Steve got drowsy too, but Carl tried hard to make up for his buddy’s behavior by asking polite questions. I couldn’t be mad at Carl. He did the best he could. I only blamed him for taking an idiot like Gus as a sidekick.

“This ride is going to cost a lot, you know,” I told Carl. “You make sure that knot-head back there picks up part of the bill.”

“Yeah, I will,” Carl assured me.

There was bad news at the base. They wouldn’t let me drive through the gate. Ubers aren’t generally allowed on base for security reasons. That meant the boys would have to walk to their quarters–a good half-mile trek.

They had a heck of a time waking Gus up and getting him out of the car. He had no clue where he was.

But with some help from the security detail, they eventually pulled him to his feet. It was then that I noticed that his outfit was red, white, and blue from head to foot. His shirt looked like it could have been made from an actual American flag. His pals each took an arm and they steered him toward the barracks.

Part of me thinks I should have dumped those guys early on. Or at least left Gus to fend for himself at the roadside. But Carl and Steve seemed like good guys. I hung in there for their sakes.

And for the surge price. As I pulled away, I saw that I had made about seventy-five dollars on that ride alone. That’s the second best fare I’ve ever had. But it was just barely worth it.


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