Lessons in Spontaneity: Driving for Lyft

I’ve rarely taken taxis in San Francisco, generally preferring to walk, bicycle or drive myself. But with the recent abundance of peer-to-peer ride sharing in San Francisco I couldn’t help but be impacted and eventually get involved. Among my peer group I am a middling adopter of new technologies so it was only after Lyft had been in San Francisco for well over a year that I asked my housemate about the pink mustaches on cars throughout the city. “That’s Lyft!” he told me enthusiastically. My other housemate chimed in: “I meet great people and they drive me home!” I was still further intrigued when I saw advertisements that Lyft with hiring drivers and paid up to $35 an hour. I charge much more for my work with autism, but sometimes have slow months and driving my car around the city for pay seemed like an interesting thing to try. It has turned out to be much more than I would ever have expected.


I’ve driven 20 hours this last week and given rides to 50 different people. In that time I’ve had the opportunity to chat with a venture capitalist from Greylock Partners, a woman who raised $30,000 on Kickstarter to fund her café on Bernal Hill and been invited home by a drunk customer – to show off my backflips and/or have sex with her housemate (I declined on all counts). I have had several fabulous discussions about parenting, learned about Bangalore, India (where I have work schedule in February) and a group of Business School “bros.” offered me beer on the job.

I plan on continuing to drive when my schedule allows it, just for the social aspect of the job. I like meeting new people, asking them questions and gaining some new insights or perspective. Here are a few of the reminders that I’ve taken away from this last week of chatting with strangers: