If Dante Alighieri were alive and living in Manila today, he would’ve surely added a tenth Circle of Hell— one devoted solely to Manila’s current traffic situation. Dedicated but not limited to the following nightmarish real life situations: rush hour traffic, Friday traffic, rainy day traffic, payday traffic, and any traffic related to the Christmas season (which actually starts as early as September).
Thank God then for the valiant efforts of certain ride-sharing companies (namely uberPOOL) to help lessen the amount of blockage on major roadways. Really, in theory, what about that could go wrong? The answer: a whole lot. While, to be fair, more often than not you’re treated to a hassle-free trip with pleasant uberPOOL-mates, other times the universe seems to conspire against you by dropping you into horrifyingly awkward situations (AKA the eleventh Circle of Hell).
And because all experiences (both the good and the bad) are best enjoyed when shared, we present six true life uberPOOL stories that’ll make you either laugh, cry, or reconsider commuting forever.
“My friends and I were out drinking to celebrate someone’s birthday. When I couldn’t take anymore drinks, I decided to French exit by booking an uberPOOL ride. I was so dizzy the entire trip that when we arrived on my street, I started vomiting out the window. I told the driver, “Kuya, wait lang, papalinis ko ‘to,” then went inside and drunkenly fell asleep. The best part about that trip was that nobody else UberPOOLed with me. The worst: I had left my phone in the car, so I had to get hold of the driver again and meet up with him. I was so embarrassed but thankfully he was polite about the entire thing. I just tried making it up to him by buying him food. Yup, 1 star for me.”- Mark, Uber Rider, Quezon City
“It was nearly 1 AM when I picked up 3 passengers. The first was a girl who got in by herself and sat up front. The next two were these drunk guys who sat in the back. Mid-trip, the guys kept asking me to turn up the volume of the radio because they liked the music. They were so obnoxiously rowdy that the girl, irritated, snapped at them saying “Hindi sa inyo ‘yung kotse ah.” They all ended up arguing with each other the rest of the trip.”– Christian, Uber Driver, Manila
“I really do my best to be a good citizen by helping solve Manila’s traffic problem through booking UberPOOL rides. One day while going to work, I realized that I forgot my wallet at home, and of course it had to be the day that I opted for a cash payment. The entire car went quiet as I searched for long lost bills in the pockets of my bags and my jeans. Thankfully, one of the strangers that I rode with offered to pay for my share. Pretty lucky on my end, but I swear nobody else on that trip looked too pleased to have me onboard.” – Issa, Uber Rider, Mandaluyong
“The moment my friend and I entered the uberPOOL, we nearly died from the smell. We didn’t know if one of the other riders just a bad case of gas or if it was something… worse. While sitting quietly in the back, my friend and I coincidently texted each other the same thing at the exact same time: ‘ANG BAHO HINDI AKO MAKAHINGA.’” – Faye, Uber Rider, BGC
“The first time I rode uberPOOL, my pool mates were three Chinese lolas. At the time, I was dying from a cold and wasn’t exactly in the mood for any kind of social interaction. I just wanted to keep to myself in a corner. Then, of course, the lolas all started talking to me, asking me how old I was, telling me all about their children and their children’s children, and even showing me pictures of all their families. One of them even started telling me all of her beauty secrets. In the middle of all this chikahan I came down with a coughing fit and they all fished out medicine from their bags and literally forced me take them on the spot. It was an amusing trip in hindsight, but at the time I just like: PLEASE SEND HELP.” – Caelyn, Parañaque, Uber Rider
“I once booked a ride with the current girlfriend of my ex. Out of all the people in Manila. We know each other personally but we didn’t say a word to each other at all—which made everything even more awkward AF! Let’s just say it was a pretty long trip.”- Trixie, Uber Rider, Makati
Illustrations by Tim Lopez
As told to Alyssa Castillo