Thursday nights are always busy at Crocs. This has apparently been true for nearly twenty years. Crocs is a Virginia Beach restaurant and bar on 19th street, a few blocks inland from the beach and a stone’s throw from the convention center. On Thursday nights, it becomes a night club with a DJ or live music. Drinks are cheap and ladies get in free.
It’s a young crowd, mostly, and they know all about the benefits of ride-sharing. Drivers in the area know that if you don’t have a passenger on a Thursday night–head over to Crocs.
That’s exactly what I did last Thursday, and, as I expected, I got a quick ping for someone named Charlie. I parked next to the curb behind another Uber, turned on my hazards, and waited.
Two young guys–almost certainly sailors–approached the vehicle in front of me, trying to get the driver’s attention. I couldn’t hear what they said, but I figured they were checking to see if it was their ride. It wasn’t, so they headed my way, one in the street on the driver’s side, and the other on the passenger side.
I put down my window.
“You Tommy?” said the driver’s-side guy.
“No, I’m Brian. I’m waiting for a Charlie.”
“Dammit!” he shouted to his buddy, “This isn’t it either.” Then to me, “We need to get the f— out of here dude. I don’t know where our f–ing Uber is. Can you just take us?”
“No, I can’t do that, bud. This is Charlie’s ride. He’s paying for it. But, I’ll tell you what. I have to give him five minutes–it’s already been about two–and if he doesn’t show up, I can take you guys.”
“Alright, dude, that’s cool,” then across my roof to his pal, “He said if Charlie doesn’t show up in five minutes, he’ll take us!”
“F– Charlie!” said the passenger-side dude. Then he opened the door and sat down in the front seat.
“Hey, bud,” I said, “I’m waiting for someone named Charlie. This is his Uber. You gotta get out.”
“F– Charlie. Take us home. We got money.” Then he rolled down the window and yelled at the first guy, “Get in! He’s taking us home.”
“No, I’m not!” I shouted out the window to him. “If Charlie doesn’t show,” I explained to the squatter, “I can take you, but you can’t wait in my car.”
Thankfully, his buddy had more sense and didn’t get in. “Come on, get out of the man’s car,” he said.
“F– Charlie. Take us home,” he said, pointing straight ahead through the windshield.
What was initially an amusing encounter with two drunks had become just annoying.
“Bud, get out of my car.”
“No. Drive us home.”
“Look, man. This is my car. You are trespassing. There’s no way I’m taking you home, now. I was willing to take you if Charlie didn’t show up, but now you’re being an a—hole and I’m not taking you regardless. So, let me say it again. Get. Out. Of my car.”
His friend opened his door and was pulling on him, “Dude, it’s cool. Get out of the man’s car. We’ll get another ride…”
But my speech had made him angry. He glared at me. “Oh, it’s like that, huh? Mother f–er, I will beat your ass. I swear I will beat your ass.”
I rolled my eyes. “Just get out of the car.”
“Dude, get out of his car!” said his buddy.
“I will f– you up,” he said, still glaring at me.
“Just get out.”
Eventually, his buddy got him out of the car, but he continued to lean in the open driver’s side door, feet spread, hands on the roof.
“Get out of the car, mother f–er. I’m gonna f– you up!” he shouted at me.
“Uh, no, just shut my door, please.”
“F– you!” he said, and leaned in and spit in my face. Yeah. He spit on me. I wiped my face with my sleeve.
“What is wrong with you? Are you a child? You actually spit on me! Shut the door and get out of here.”
“Get out of the car!”
“I’m not going to fight you, idiot. Shut the door.”
At this point, two other buddies joined the first and the three of them literally dragged him away from my car and tackled him to the ground. As he shut the door, the first guy leaned in and said, “I’m sorry, man. He’s just drunk.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Thanks for your help.”
I looked at the app and realized that five minutes had expired. Charlie was a no-show after all. I canceled the ride and drove away.