So, it finally happened – drunk girl gets sick in my car!
On a recent Thursday night around 10pm I picked up two girls outside Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown to take them to Cinnaminson, NJ. On the way home, one of them asked me to pull over abruptly on the highway after she started losing her cookies. It was not a pretty sight. As soon as I stopped I repeatedly hit the “door open” button as I told her “open the door!” She still made a mess of herself and my car. Pissed off, I drove them another 10 minutes to their destination (near one of their parent’s house, apparently) where I watched them drive off in their car. I took pictures of the mess in my car as best I could considering it was nighttime. With all the chaos, I had forgotten to turn the Lyft Driver app off, so I had to accept another ride request. Fortunately the pick-up wasn’t that far away and the ride was short. But, I told the passenger to sit up front with me because the last passenger had “made a mess in the back seat” (I didn’t give any details). After I dropped him off I pulled over to a side street and reported the incident in the Lyft Driver app along with the photos I had taken. This is where the real “fun” begins. As John Quinones says, “What would you do?” It’s late at night, you have a mess in the car, and you would like to possibly drive some more that night. So, I drive back home to my apartment building, park the car and go retrieve cleaning items to clean the car as best I could. It took me about an hour to clean the seats, the door, the carpet, and rear mat. The next morning I received the first of many frustrating emails from Lyft Customer Support. The first one said they acknowledged the incident and that there was some sort of error receiving the pictures. I had to send them again (this time by email). Fun to revisit them!! Next they ask for a receipt or estimate for cleaning even though I told them I cleaned the car myself. Where would I take my car to get cleaned at 11pm?? And, who would let their car sit overnight with vomit in it?! After calling around to several places in town to get an estimate, I could only get one from a shady car detailer in South Philly (JoJo’s detailing) who wanted a $50 non-refundable deposit for just an estimate. They handwrote an estimate for $270 and stamped the business address on it. You guessed it, Lyft did NOT accept the estimate because part of it was handwritten even though they just said they “preferred” a printed estimate rather than a handwritten one. Of course, I couldn’t get JoJo’s to print out one and so I had no further recourse. I pitched a fit with Lyft when they told me they were not going forward with my damage (cleaning) claim. Furious, I let loose on them in several emails. After a visit to the local Lyft Hub on Columbus Blvd PepBoys, one of the Lyft employees was able to show me a hack in the Lyft app to have customer service (related to a completely different department) call me. When Lyft did call me, I gave them a piece of my mind while the employee added notes to send to an internal Lyft system about the “incident”. The next day, Lyft send me an email saying they are giving me $100, but they still require a receipt for a cleaning. I had told the customer service person on the phone I was not going to provide any more receipts or documents…Full stop! So far, they haven’t clawed back the $100 yet, but I’m not convinced this will be the last of it. So, in the end, I got $100 and gave $50 of it up to a shady detailing business for nothing more than an estimate. The time it took me to clean my car, the frustration of dealing with Lyft customer service, and the anger of paying for a worthless estimate was a helluva lot more work and infuriating than the $50 I ended up with. The next time I drive late at night I am going to ask any obviously drunk passengers if they are feeling queasy in any way. If so, they are not getting in my car! Cancelled ride. I know it’s not fool-proof, but it’s my car, my rules.