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9 min read

    9 min read

    Have you ever watched a movie, TV show or music video that featured Lyft or Uber logos? Maybe someone was actually “working” as a driver. We wanted to know how realistic these portrayals are and if there are takeaways for drivers, so we had senior RSG contributor Will Preston break down one of the latest movies to prominently feature rideshare driving, the movie The Equalizer 2 starring Denzel Washington.

    In the recently released movie, The Equalizer 2, Denzel Washington plays a horrible Lyft driver who somehow gets repeat business. I wanted to better understand this dichotomy, so I decided to look at his dashcam footage. After all, it’s Denzel Washington, he’s getting repeat business as a driver – he must be doing something right, right?

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    In case you haven’t heard of The Equalizer 2, its plot summary from Google is:

    “If you have a problem and there is nowhere else to turn, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall will deliver the vigilante justice you seek. This time, however, McCall’s past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill Susan Plummer — his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins who’ll stop at nothing to destroy him.”

    Have you ever watched a movie, TV show or music video that featured Lyft or Uber logos? Maybe someone was actually “working” as a driver. We wanted to know how realistic these portrayals are and if there are takeaways for drivers, so we had senior RSG contributor Will Preston break down one of the latest movies to prominently feature rideshare driving, the movie The Equalizer 2 starring Denzel Washington.

    Apparently, the first Equalizer movie did not do very well, so Denzel has resorted to side work as a Lyft driver. He performs Lyft pickups in between righting society’s wrongs –  but it doesn’t look like the Lyft part is going very well.

    Note: this article contains a number of spoilers from  The Equalizer 2. Don’t read it if you don’t want those spoilers. Except for one section that will clearly identify itself, this is meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek. Do not take these suggestions literally and do not try them yourself.

    What did I learn from watching Denzel’s dashcam footage? Let’s break it down.

    A Good Driver Verifies Your Destination

    When Denzel picked up Sam from the assisted living facility, he verified his destination before going anywhere.  “Copy center?” he asked, before he had moved an inch.  He did this despite the fact that this was clearly a regular customer and he probably knew where he was going.

    It’s Possible to Have ‘Regulars’

    Sam was a regular.  You know this because Denzel was at the pickup spot before the ride request came in. He pulled up there and immediately got the ping with “0 minutes away” on the screen. It all looked so easy!

    I’ve not has as much luck with that lately.  Drivers that have regular passengers use various tips, like making sure the pin appears to be in front of the car before you request the ride. Merely being next to driver in the car no longer seems to work – especially with Uber. Denzel figured it out, though, so it must be possible.

    Related: How This Driver Started His Own Rideshare Business

    You Might Want to Keep Your Day Job

    Denzel’s rides all seemed pretty short. Old man going to the store, three little girls going home from school, and one poor lady going to the hospital. Based on what happened in the movie, though, I think he overcharged the abusers. It looks like he kept the meter running all the way to the hospital and back, since he didn’t see the ride ending message until he left the building after, uh, verifying their credit card information.

    He did have one seemingly long ride — a guy going to the airport to go home and see his daughter for her birthday.  But then he cancelled that ride after already starting it, so I don’t think he got that fare. But at least he cancelled it using the other guy’s phone, so the passenger won’t be able to give him a bad rating. (If the passenger cancels for whatever reason, they can’t rate you.) Of course, the other guy’s dead, so a low rating is probably unlikely.

    Listen to Your Passengers, But Don’t Butt In

    Eavesdrop on  – but don’t butt in on – your customer’s conversations. You really can’t help eavesdropping since they’re talking right behind you. But they don’t want your commentary on their life, so mind your business.

    If they want to talk to you about their situation, though, feel free to talk to them. But if you do happen to hear a guy praying, take off your cap like Denzel. It’s old school, but many good things are old school.

    Make Sure to Honor Vets

    One exception to the above rule is if you hear that a vet is about to ship off. It’s totally fine to ask them where they’re going, and to tell them you’ll “be here to pick [them] up when [they] get back,” like Denzel did.

    That’s a classy way of telling them they’re going to come home, and a great way to honor them without the usual “thank you for your service.” Although as a vet, I’m always happy to hear the latter as well.

    Help Passengers Find Lost Items

    If you’ve got a current or former passenger that has lost something, help them out.  Do your best to make sure your passengers don’t leave anything in your car, but if they do, help them out. You might lose out on some money, or you might get a huge reward.

    I don’t know if you need to go above and beyond like Denzel did, by helping a Nazi internment camp survivor find his long lost sister, but you could at least help them find their phone.

    Hide Your GPS if You’re Pulling a Fast One

    One of Denzel’s rides was taking a guy to the airport, and his “spidey sense” was going off. I’m not sure what tipped him off, but he definitely got the feeling something wasn’t right. So he decided to test his theory by driving away from the airport to see if the guy noticed. The guy did not.

    If you pay close attention to that dashcam footage, you won’t see his phone.  In all the other footage, his phone is mounted on his dash. In this one, it’s nowhere to be seen.  I think it’s so he could take the guy for a spin without him noticing he was going against the GPS. Slick one, Denzel.

    No Minors!

    Denzel should know better. One of the rides clearly shows him transporting three unaccompanied minors. While it is possible a parent was in the front seat and just not visible in the dashcam, that seemed unlikely. Denzel never interacted with anyone in the front seat – only with those in the back seat.

    Transporting unaccompanied minors is against Lyft and Uber rules, and can get you deactivated.

    You Can Beat Up Your Pax!

    If your passengers do something bad, it’s totally okay to beat the living daylights out of them, or even kill them and set them on fire. Use your own judgment, though. And if you do such a thing, it’s totally okay to force them to give you five stars – and they’ll totally do it if they’re scared of you.

    Drivers Should Learn Hand-to-Hand Combat Skills

    Being a Lyft driver is apparently very dangerous. Passengers may need to be beaten senseless, some may pull a knife on you, and some may even try to shoot you while you’re driving! Having solid hand-to-hand combat skills will come in very handy.

    You might consider going into the CIA and being a field operative for a few years; it’s apparently really good experience. Although if it turns out your partner is a traitor, it’s not going to help you. You’ll end up stabbed to death in your own hotel room.

    Get Some Weapons of Opportunity

    Lyft and Uber have an anti-weapons policy. So you need to figure out some everyday objects you can bring with you that aren’t a weapon – but can be used as one. Like a metal flashlight – or a metal credit card.  Those can apparently be quite lethal.

    You Need a DashCam

    If one of your passengers pulls a knife or gun on you, and you happen to defend yourself, it would be very helpful if you had footage of them to prove you acted in self defense.

    Denzel didn’t have one, and that’s why he had to bur his car. Having a dashcam will mean you won’t have to set your car on fire after killing someone in self defense.

    Related: Battle of the Best DashCams Here

    Movie Goofs

    I reported a few goofs to IMDB.  The movie shows the driver seeing his passenger’s individual rating. If only it were so.

    Also, the guy wanting to kill Denzel’s character does so by taking his Lyft.  How exactly did he get assigned to Denzel’s Lyft?  That’s not possible without a lot of coordination, which seems unlikely given Denzel’s “spidey sense.”

    Here’s What Drivers Should Take Seriously From The Equalizer 2

    I enjoyed the movie, and I enjoyed writing this tongue-in-cheek review of Denzel as a Lyft driver. But there was one part in the movie that I just couldn’t laugh at.

    Watch for signs of domestic violence or exploitation

    Another exception to minding your own business is if you believe you’ve got a victim of domestic violence, trafficking, or exploitation in your car.

    This happened to Denzel’s character when a few guys put a girl in his car that was partially undressed and was obviously in a state of trauma.  All joking aside, you might be this person’s only chance at salvation. Look for things like this. If something doesn’t look right – act.

    Take care of the victims

    Denzel’s character took the girl in question immediately to a hospital, where they pumped her stomach. She was alone and he was at no personal risk by doing so. That was the best thing he could do in that moment. Get the girl out of danger and into the hands of people who can help.

    Take care of the perpetrators

    No, you should not try to take on a gang of criminals on your own, but you can do what you can. Write down everything you can as soon as you can. This means the start and destination addresses before you forget them, as well as any other details you can think of.

    • What did the perpetrators look like, what did they smell like?
    • Did any of them say their names?
    • Can you remember the Lyft or Uber account name?
    • Do you have any dashcam footage of them?

    Call 911 and immediately give everything you can to the police, including the ride ID so they can contact Lyft or Uber themselves and get more information.

    Summary

    It’s no surprise that a movie with a Lyft driver pushes the boundaries of reality. The movie was fun, but it’s not an accurate reflection of being a Lyft or Uber driver.  But if you’re going to the movies to find reality, you’re probably doing it wrong.

    Drivers, have you seen The Equalizer 2 or any other movies/TV shows featuring drivers? How realistic were they?

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    -Will @ RSG

    Will Preston

    Will Preston

    Will Preston is a part-time rideshare driver with over 4,000 rides under his belt. He drives in the San Diego market. Like a lot of people, Preston has a day job and it's as an IT analyst specializing in backup and recovery.

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