There are a lot of interesting people out there in this world of ours. There are also a lot of crazy, weird, and just plain hilarious ones. When one’s job is to constantly be picking up strangers and sharing a confined space with them for a certain amount of time, there is really no limit to what can go down. Whether it’s an Uber, Lyft, car service, or traditional taxicab, one can never predict who—or what—they are going to be picking up next.
Here are 42 crazy stories of some of the most memorable interactions between drivers and their passengers.
I witnessed an uncomfortable breakup unfold in my cab. The girl was dumping a cheating guy after finding out he'd been unfaithful with some of her former friends. It started with me picking them up, along with two of his buddies, from a bar.
I dropped the first buddy off and then the second one, leaving just the former couple behind to argue over who would be dropped off where. The girlfriend refused to get out at her boyfriend’s place and insisted on being dropped off at her own place, with the dumpee alternating between trying to patch things up and trying to justify his past behavior.
I finally had to drop off the newly single jerk back at his parents' place. More than a solid hour of cringeworthy uncomfortableness.
On New Year’s, I found a .45 caliber round in my backseat after picking someone up in the Inglewood area.
I helped run a cab company for a few years and I would fill in driving a lot. Hardly a day went by without me overhearing something weird or cringe-worthy, and it usually involved college students.
Two English Lit majors were discussing their classes one day. All of a sudden, one stops and says “Oh, I saw this weird movie last night. Kinda like Harry Potter but had this guy named Frodo in it.” They were in 300 level classes in English Literature and when I brought up Tolkien, they'd never heard of him.
Another time, I had a group of four business majors with a $14 fare. Middle of the day and they weren't drunk. I sat there for over a minute listening to them try to figure out what 14 divided by 4 was, so they could split the fare evenly.
I drove a cab for a while on weekends while in college. I had dated this girl for about a month when she confessed she had a boyfriend in Germany. She told me all about him, including how he was going to be moving in with her soon. I stopped seeing her at that point.
A few months later, I pick up a drunk couple at a bar. They're all over each other, making out in the back. The guy is German. We drop off the girl, then the guy has me take him home. He starts telling me how he just moved here to be with his girlfriend, but she's out of town for the weekend. He says American girls are easy cause they're suckers for guys with accents and confesses that he cheats on his oblivious girlfriend all the time. Yep, it was the guy. I said nothing as I dropped him at my ex’s place. Always wondered what happened with them…
Oh boy, I have this one covered! While running a gypsy cab doing long distance rides through Craigslist, I overheard some real interesting stuff. The worst was a girl who was very candid about how she frequently used men to do her crimes. When they would get arrested doing her bidding, she would stay in their places until eviction, steal all their stuff, empty their bank accounts, run up credit, and take advantage of these guys in every other way you could think of.
She was on her way from El Paso to Dallas and she had no reservations whatsoever in the stories she was telling me the whole time. She was very likable as someone to have a chat with, though. We shared a lot of laughs on that trip.
NYC taxi driver here. I recently had some guys talking about a brilliant business idea they had, where they would pay a bunch of homeless people to ride around on bikes to generate electricity for their Bitcoin computer.
They also planned on feeding them something cheap like egg rolls as a bonus incentive. I can’t imagine why this hasn’t become the next big thing!
I once picked up two lawyers who were representing opposite sides in a divorce case, and overheard them colluding on plans to prolong the proceedings unnecessarily so they could both make more money off it.
Not as a driver, but as a passenger. In Philadelphia, I heard a guy say "I'M GONNA SMACK YOU WITH THE HEAD OF A CHICKEN!"
Needless to say, we tried to stay quiet the rest of the trip…
My best taxi-related story:
One time in college, one of my friends was blackout drunk, roaming around the bars at our school, when he decided he'd had enough and began looking for a cab back to his dorm. However, instead of a cab, he climbed into the back of a cop car and proceeded to try to direct the cop to his dorm. The cop, being a nice guy, actually took him and eventually passed the kid off to his roommate.
I am an Uber driver and these guys were talking while reading the news about a politician discriminating against a certain minority group. One of the girls didn't know about it, so one of the guys was explaining it to her. The girl then mentioned that she didn't think there was anything wrong with what the politician was doing, adding in a racial slur about that group. It wasn’t until halfway through the ride that they realized I was a member of that very ethnic group. Things got awkward fast…
I once had a drunk marine ranger have a full-blown PTSD attack, making me swerve away from trash cans because he thought they might have bombs in them. He was so freaked out that he wouldn't tell me where he lived and had me drop him at a street corner of his choosing.
When he got out, he crouched to the ground and wouldn't stop saying "Always 13 exits, always 13." He threw an uncounted pile of money at me on his way out without looking away from his surroundings.
My friend's dad is a taxi driver in Sydney. The strangest thing he ever overheard was two men discussing the details of their "full body shaving party" he was driving them to.
I didn't want to hear any more.
We used to have this regular customer who was a super nice lady. She was always watching her five grandkids because her own kids were no good and she stepped in to take care of them.
We took her shopping, to the bank, to take the kids to school—you name it. Did all kinds of stuff for her. But then when I started driving nights, it turned out she was also working—as in, a lady of the evening. I did not see that coming!
I’m not a driver, but I was in an Uber Pool in Vegas. My driver picked up another rider and they quickly started hitting it off. It started with complimenting each other, then soon escalated into overt inappropriate comments. Right before I got dropped off, she offered the rider some substances...
I was going to report it, but whatever, it's Vegas.
Just yesterday, I had a drunk 40-something guy in the car who immediately began to brag non-stop about supposedly being a millionaire. He then told a story about how a woman in a bar had rejected him and how foolish she was to be missing out on all his money could buy. He says she is now with some broke loser, and he knows this because he creeped on her social media.
Picked up a fare at a hotel in the resort town I drive in, which is just over an hour from a major city. The rider was a beautiful but very distraught woman in her thirties, who had clearly been crying. She was polite and to the point—she needed me to take her to buy cigarettes, then to the nearest liquor store, and then back to her room.
She pulls out her phone to call her mom, and recounts openly about how she had just been in a fight with her husband at a bar. He left her in the bar and, when she returned to their room, she discovered that he had left for the big city without saying a word, taking all their stuff with him.
She's then suddenly interrupted by her husband calling. A one-sided shouting match ensues, with her volume ever increasing—ending with her initiating divorce proceedings. They'd been married less than a month and were on their honeymoon.
I've driven cabs in Australia on and off for about two years. I think the worst story/confession I got was from a dude who booked my cab in a rush to travel from one end of the Gold Coast to the other. He told me that he was in a huge hurry because his girlfriend had just rung him and told him she had been assaulted. She went to a party without him because they had been fighting.
During the course of the ride, he told me that he had been thinking of dumping her, but that with this he didn't know what to do. I dropped him off at her place and he was pretty messed up.
Pretty bad situation to be in for both of them, hope they managed to sort everything out.
I had a short stint driving a cab in the Boston area. Two very attractive passengers come in one day and I assume they are a couple, even though the man was clearly far older than the woman. They were talking loudly about getting away from Boston and going to Paris. I try to strike up some conversation and ask them how long they are going for, and they say they are moving there the next day.
Turns out the dude was married. Like, to another woman. His wife was out for the night, and he was just packing up some stuff and moving without telling her, or his three kids, until he reached the other side of the Atlantic.
Now that I knew about the big secret of their plot, he then asked me if I could give them a ride to the airport in the morning, and if I'd meet them around the block. I said no. I got no tip.
My dad is a cab driver in Queensland, Australia. He once picked up two men in women’s clothing, and the trip was relatively uneventful until they arrived at their destination. My dad asked them for the money, and one of them promptly reached into their underwear and pulled out a $50 dollar note that was DRIPPING with some kind of liquid. My dad said not to worry about the money because he was on the verge of throwing up. Taught me a valuable lesson about washing my hands after handling money.
I had a group of three girls spend the cab ride talking in detail about the middle one’s implants. This led to an in-depth analysis of today’s implant market. Apparently, the best place to go for that service is Beverly Hills. They're cheap there because of all the competition, and they are very good, because they deal with a lot of volume.
I picked up a couple of female agricultural students in California who carried on their conversation like I wasn't there, as they discussed and debated which of their friends and classmates would be best to cheat on their boyfriends with—citing prior experience in their reasoning. As far as the boyfriends knew, everyone was celibate.
I drove a cab back in the late 1990s. When getting out of the car, I once heard one man say to another, after making a stop at a friend's house: "Hey man, you sure this is the right rock?"
Wasn’t particularly freaky per se, just really random and weird.
I once had a guy go into detail to compare his life to Nicolas Cage's in the movie Leaving Las Vegas, reflecting that his life was identical to it. He confessed that his wife left him and took the kids years earlier and that he was now basically drinking himself to death. He thought this was all some weird way of that movie coming to life.
This one is kind of the other way around. I was once the passenger of a really fancy transport service in New York, like pick you up in an S-class fancy. The driver was huge, like 6’5” tall and 350 lbs., and he seemed nice enough.
We started talking on the trip from the airport to my hotel and, it wasn’t anything specific, but after talking for a while I sort of got the impression he had done some pretty serious organized crime in Ukraine and it didn’t seem like he was done with it. It honestly got a little uncomfortable by the end of the ride.
On the bright side, he gave me his card, and said that if anyone in New York ever gave me problems, I should call him up. So that was cool.
I was driving an Uber Pool and heard a 15-year-old talk about what he was going to do with his friend (hooking up-wise) when they got to their destination.
This guy I drove home from a bar told me about how he feels that the appropriate response to 9/11 should have been the immediate retaliatory nuclear bombing of Afghanistan that same evening. He kept belligerently declaring, "Yeah, you got us once, but BOOM, you are done for 50 years!"
An Uber driver once said he picked up a girl in her early 20s from the airport who had just flown to town to spend the weekend with her long-distance boyfriend. The driver drove all the way to his house to find that he wasn't there. He texted the girl telling her it wasn't going to work out and that he didn't want to see her anymore.
The Uber driver ended up taking the girl out with her friends the whole weekend to get drinks and party with them, making sure she had a great time and didn't fly all the way there just to have a miserable trip. Quite inspiring.
I once had to pick up a group of girls from a bar, and a mini-fight broke out in the back of my car over a guy after two of them found out they’d both made out with him. Fun times!
A guy I work with does Uber on the side. We live close to a city with a university that I think is still known as one of the top 10 party universities.
He once overheard some college girls talking about how they planned on bringing their 15-year-old little sisters to a party sometime to get them "super messed up."
I picked up this couple who got caught doing the deed in their car. They told me how they illegally had open bottles of wine in there too, but got the officer to look away so the girl could get dressed—and hid the bottles.
He then gets on the phone to tell his buddy to come get his keys and go check his car, because he had illegal substances in the trunk. Actually true? I have no idea, but it was the wildest thing anyone ever said to me.
I was the passenger, but once a cab driver talked about how they loved doing acid. And how they were on acid at the moment. While driving. I was then offered some.
A passenger once told me that he was cheating on his wife with his dealer, who came from the same country as I did—which is how the conversation got started. It had been going on for 25 years.
I don’t know what impresses me more, a 25-year affair or a 25-year habit.
One of my passengers, I wouldn't have picked up if there hadn’t already been four other dudes in the car. He was very shady, had face tats, and was noticeably intoxicated. He was clutching a bag the whole time and asked if any of us knew where to buy 100 pounds of pot. We figured he had at least 40k-50k cash on him and got off at a sketchy spot. Would not want to be alone with that guy…
I had a woman in the back seat complaining to her sister on the phone that her niece is working the streets. As in, not meaning it as a simple insult—she was complaining about the fact that her niece had legitimately chosen to be a lady of the evening as her profession. And she talked about it for 20 minutes straight.
I was driving four girls on a college campus, and one of them started laughing about how her sister died a year ago. For some reason, she was treating it like a joke and was trying to get her friends to laugh about it, but they refused. She continued laughing and joking about it for the whole ride.
I drove Lyft for a while back in 2015. I was working on New Year’s Eve and it was my last ride of the night, about 2 am. I picked up a very drunk couple at a bar called Malarkey’s in Long Beach. Took them to their place in Costa Mesa.
I could hear them making out for a while in the back before it got quiet. Then I could hear the guy start snoring softly and the girl put her head in his lap. I came to realize she had passed out while doing stuff to him, so he just fell asleep as well. Trying to wake them up when it was time to be dropped off was awkward…
I drove for a car service for about two years. Since I was fairly clean cut and reliable, they started giving me Board of Education jobs: basically driving problem children and their parents to what I affectionately referred to as "prison schools." These were isolated schools, usually out in the country and with higher security to accommodate students with behavioral, emotional, or mental problems.
Anyway, I had to take a mom and her kid from the Bronx to Pennsylvania. The kid had severe emotional disturbance and developmental issues and did not want to go back to his school. The entire trip, he was begging her not to send him back, while she tried to calm him down.
Midway through Jersey, I hear a lot of action in the back seat and she asks me to pull over. It turns out her son had hidden away a kitchen knife in his bag and was trying to stab either his mom or himself in order to avoid going back. She wrestled the knife away from him in a fast food parking lot and we turned around and headed back to the Bronx.
Well, the strangest thing I've ever experienced driving a cab was being the victim of an attempted robbery by a customer who disagreed with the meter.
As I stopped, he threw a fit over the meter and refused to pay. I told him promptly that it was either him paying, or me driving him down to the police station.
At this point, he turns to me and says with an eerily calm voice that he knows where my alarm button is located and that he would really prefer if I did not push it. At the same time, murder is shining from his eyes, and he has a knife in his hand. He repeats himself as I am about to press the alarm button.
At this moment, I know that I am more or less dead. A robber who has to repeat himself usually tends to escalate the situation. I look back at him, straight in the eyes, and ask him “What's it gonna be?” The dude sits there staring me back in the eyes, and says he wants my money. I say I will comply, but add that I'd prefer that he at least pay for the fare.
At this point, he gets this funny and rather bizarre facial expression, puts the knife away, and finds his credit card. He tells me then to keep not pressing the alarm button, but rather let him pay. So he pays. And he gets out and leaves.
I'm sitting back in my cab completely dumbfounded. What the heck just happened there?? Cops told me there wasn't anything they could do, as he actually paid the fare and never stole anything.
I actually just asked a taxi driver friend what the weirdest thing that ever happened in his taxi was. He said there were two elderly women in the backseat who were talking quite loudly about normal stuff, then all of a sudden they both went quiet and there was a bad smell in the car.
The taxi driver said he didn’t want to say anything, but he heard one of the women mention quietly to the other "It happened." The other replied "What happened?" and she whispered quietly "I've pooped myself." He said they didn’t say much else the rest of the trip, then got out at a house and tipped him 100% of the fair.
Don't drive anymore, but I used to drive in Memphis.
One evening, the parking lot I used to pick people up from was packed. I mean, the valets were so far behind, I could barely get my cab past the other cars to get in. I'm keeping an eye on the concierge at the door, so I can see when he waves me over. I'm looking, and who comes out the door but Steven Seagal. The concierge waves a town car down to the door, Seagal gets in, and it takes off. I'm kind of in awe, because that's the second-closest I've been to a celebrity-type.
Five minutes later, I'm contemplating leaving, when the concierge whistles and waves me down. I pull up to the curb, the concierge opens the back door, and this older-looking gentleman gets in, maybe in his 50s, wearing a duster-length wool coat, holding a handkerchief over his mouth and nose, and a Kangol hat on his head. I figure he's got a cold, no big deal.
I ask where he wants to go. He gives me an address in a nice residential area on the other side of the city. I pull out of the parking lot, start the meter, and ask the guy how he wants to get there. He asks which way is better. I tell him going through town is cheaper, but taking the loop is faster. He tells me to use my best judgment, so I start going through town.
About a third of the way there, he asks if I saw Steven Seagal earlier. I told him I had, and I wished I could have taken him. He lowers his handkerchief, and it's Steven Seagal!! Turns out, he had sent a double in the town car. We talked a little about this and that, and when I dropped him off, he handed me a hundred and told me to keep the change.
I drove a cab for one weekend.
Picked up a drunk couple at the bar and drove them home.
The whole way there she was sniffing his armpit, and kept telling me about how she loved doing that on a regular basis.
I once picked up a dude from jail and had to drive him two cities over to drop him off at his girlfriend’s place. When we were getting close, he called her up. They got into a fight on speakerphone, in which she told him that he can’t come home. He begged her to let him stay.
It was super awkward and I didn’t want to leave him alone, so I ended up just sitting with him at a gas station for a while until she called back and told him he could stay for just that night. It was really awkward and sad to watch.
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