They’re always there when you need them. When you have that 7am flight, he’s the only one offering to take you to the airport at 5am. When you didn’t really plan to have that third glass of wine but did anyway, she’s there to take you home safely. When you’re stuck in a meeting and everybody heads to the restaurant without you, you pick up your phone, and he’s on his way to help you out. When you know you really should have had your car looked at long before it stopped starting and now it’s in the shop for week, she’s there to make sure you get to work on time.
No, I’m not talking about your parents or your best friend. I’m talking about your Uber driver-partner.
I ride with Uber. A lot. So much that climbing in the back seat has become so second nature to me that it feels weird when I actually ride shotgun anymore. And as much as I love my whip, there are times when it’s just not convenient to drive. I usually spend most of my Uber rides catching up on social media, making calls or Snapping the scenery, so I rarely get a chance to chat with the man or woman who’s responded to my ride request. Until now…
As part of Uber’s “Get Your Side Hustle On” series, I met Evan Mahoney at The Culver Hotel in Culver City to have brunch and learn more about what it’s really like to be behind the wheel for Uber. A former manager with a bottled water company, Evan started driving with Uber after he saw how easy it was for his girlfriend to make some extra money on the side, and for about a year, he supplemented his management income with Uber earnings by driving on the weekends and evenings. I could certainly relate to needing some extra cash to be able to afford LA. When I lived there, I was working full-time at a clothing store and my side hustle was working the Chanel counter at Nordstrom. Unlike Evan’s being able to schedule his own hours with Uber, mine were set by the stores and constantly conflicted. When I told Evan this, he said, “Yes, one of the great benefits of partnering with Uber!”
When news of Evan’s company’s relocating to Florida hit, his coworkers panicked, fearing layoffs or forced relocations. But he didn’t panic. “’Aren’t you worried?’ everyone asked me. ‘No,’ I said, ‘I can always Uber,’” he laughs. “It was absolutely not an option for me to relocate. My kids and grandkids are here (in LA). I was born here and have spent my whole life here, and there was no way I was leaving my family to move to Florida. That was two years ago, and I’ve been full-time with Uber ever since.” An avid golfer, frequent slot player at the Pala Casino in Temecula, and a devoted father of three and grandfather of three, becoming an Uber partner has afforded him a lifestyle that allows him to balance work, play and family life in a way his management job never did. “One day a week I play golf with my son. I have lunch with my daughter once a week. I was able to take time off to help out my daughter when her second child was born. It’s been amazing to be able to watch my grandchildren when I want, which is something I’d never been able to do at my old job.”
Evan seemed like the kind of guy who also treats his uberX and uberPOOL riders like family. He’s meticulous about cleanliness (washing his car every three days) and anticipates what his riders need by offering bottled water, a variety of gum, phone chargers and tissues “for colds and criers”. And like every diligent father and grandfather, he puts his “Uber family’s” safety first, which is what led him to lease a brand new Toyota Camry through Xchange Leasing, an Uber company. “They give you a list of dealers, you pick out your car, and within two days I was driving it. It was the easiest car lease of my life,” he explained. “There are no mileage restrictions, you can turn it in with 30 days notice if you stop driving or you can buy it at the end of the lease for a really affordable price.”
In addition to having a better work-life balance (and a great new car), Evan lists meeting so many new and interesting people as one of his favorite things about making the decision to sign up for the Uber platform. Having lived in LA myself, I could only laugh at his use of the term “interesting” when referencing LA residents. He meant it in a positive way, though, and reminded me that even at a grandfather’s age, we can all still change the course of our career to something better, meet new people who have something to teach us and become someone who still sees wonder in our daily life. “It’s humbled me to know that I don’t know everything about LA when I thought I did.”
Whether you’re in need of a side hustle to make some extra money or to be able to set your own schedule or to be your own boss, you might want to consider partnering with Uber. Read more Uber Driver-Partner Stories here. This post was created in partnership with Uber. And if you ever have the pleasure of riding with Evan in LA, please tell him I said hello!