5 Worst Rideshare Passengers & How to Handle Them

I love being a rideshare driver, waking up early, taking a shower, brewing some coffee, filling the car with gas, and firing up my Uber and Lyft apps.  Let the day begin!

During the day, I will have many wonderful experiences. I will see a sunrise, I will help someone with their luggage at the airport, and smell the excitement in the air from expectant travelers. I will have one or two amazing conversations with passengers about life, love, travel, and the future.

Occasionally, amongst all this joy, all drivers will experience difficult rideshare passengers who will throw you out of your flow.

This article will look at the top five difficult rideshare passengers and suggest three strategies to disarm those passengers and reclaim your joyful flow.

Top 5 Difficult Rideshare Passengers

Most passengers are wonderful, they are ready for pick up and are happy to be getting into your car to head toward their destination.

However, there are some passengers that can be infuriating.

Let’s see if you can recognize these passengers from your own rideshare driving experiences:

1. The Crow: Rude & Angry

The Crow is rude, and often, also angry.  They squawk incessantly, getting in the car, and have not even one good thing to say.

I notice that when I speak to the crow, my words may get misinterpreted, and have to realize they are not angry at me.

Perhaps their boyfriend or girlfriend dropped them, or they lost their job.

Still, it is difficult to be around them, though sometimes they may say something that will make you laugh, but overall, the crow is rude and angry.

2. The Skunk: Sexually Suggestive & Aggressive

The Skunk is sexually suggestive and may be aggressive as well.  They may not physically smell, but they are toxic. The energy they bring to the car does not feel good.

Unfortunately, the skunk shows up more for female drivers, and typically don’t understand the boundaries between drivers and passengers.

They also carry a sense of entitlement.  The skunk is relentless.

3. The Hummingbird: The Overbearing Talker

The Hummingbird won’t stop talking.  From the moment they get in your car, they tell you their life story.

They don’t seem to recognize the fact that you are not interested, it doesn’t matter to them.

Like a hummingbird whose wings flap up to 80 times per second, this passenger talks nonstop, only stopping to breathe.

Even when you try to engage with the hummingbird, they are not interested.  Hummingbirds only want to talk and to be heard.

4. The Bulldog: Sad & Emotional

The Bulldog is the passenger who is sad and emotional. This passenger is unique because they can also lead to a remarkable experience.

If you are in the right space, you may have a very deep conversation with the bulldog.

But more often than not, you will hear a sad story, and there may be tears.  In the end, you will be happy they have left your car.

5. The Elephant: Late & Doesn’t Care

The Elephant is that passenger that arrives late for the pickup, and even worse, they don’t care.

Most passengers, when they arrive late, express an apology, “Sorry I’m late!”

The elephant has a sense of entitlement which you may find nauseating. Of all the upsetting passengers listed here, this is the passenger that upsets me the most. I hate wasting time waiting.

As long as I get an apology, I can hang with a 5-minute wait, but when there is no apology, I am rubbed the wrong way.


How To Deal with the Worst Rideshare Passengers

1. Experience Empathy

In all these unpleasant situations, the passenger is going through something.  Most passengers are pleasant.

For one reason or another, the difficult passengers are behaving in an unctuous manner.

The key to empathy is to put yourself in the place of the other person, and ask yourself, “What could my passenger be going through?”

When you experience life through your passengers’ eyes, you will feel sympathy and compassion.  It’s not easy, but it can be done.

2. Talk Your Way Out Of It

This works with all five types of difficult passengers.  Start to talk, launch into a story, this strategy works to let the air out of the balloon.

Your passenger will lose all toxicity, you will put them immediately into a position of passivity and receptiveness.  They will soften and mellow.

If you throw in a little life lesson in your story, that will make this strategy even more effective.

3. Listen Your Way Out Of It

Sometimes, you may find you are talking, and the passenger is insistent on talking over you.

In this case, become the best listener your passenger has ever seen.

Listen, nod your head, and give a few exclamations, “Really, oh my gosh, that’s amazing.”

It is a powerful human need to be witnessed, to be heard, to be understood.

In my car, I spend most of the time listening, it’s not only good for tips, it’s also good for difficult passengers.

Key Takeaways

In addition to being drivers, we are also in the people business. Unlike food delivery, we deliver real live people who sometimes jump into our car with ongoing issues.

A huge opportunity is the lessons we can learn by adapting to our passengers and working with them so they have a pleasant experience.

The key is not to get triggered and collapse into anger or resentment, but to recognize the difficulty and incorporate one of the three strategies mentioned above.

You will see that you are always in charge and can handle anything that happens in your care. You can become a master of the human condition.