Smiley Ridesharing: Topping off the tank

Smiley Ridesharing: Pretrip Checks and Topping off 

It’s the second leg of our 12-hour shift now. The weather has warmed slightly, and we’re looking forward to putting some more money into the bank after topping off the tank.

There is more that goes into topping off the tank, than just filling the car with fuel. It’s important to keep a positive mindset, even when one is worried about the basic necessities, such as keeping one’s vehicle gassed up or paying the bills. It may seem like you’re doing a lot of work for little or no reward when you’re paying for gas and days away from having the car payment due or having to pay for yet another thing to help keep your vehicle running at peak condition. Understanding that the business platform works and has proven itself, goes a long way towards encouraging Michael. While he knows that there will be frustrations and stresses, he also knows that if he keeps providing five-star service, connecting with people, and giving them the most positive experience possible, it will help him overcome the stress that each day brings.


Part of that keeping a positive mindset is meeting with a mentor, spiritual leader, preacher, or teacher you like and trust. That person can help you focus and recover from stress. Every Wednesday, Michael likes to be able to meet with his pastor, Father Martin, and enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation. Father Martin is a great listener, and so is Michael, so they both benefit from the time to share and connect outside of the regular church service. Michael considers Father Martin more than a pastor—he’s a friend and ally.

Smiley Ridesharing: The Trips

Our first trip of the evening was a wonderful journey. We took a man who is a husband, father, and a professional to a business meeting. Michael admired how well the man was able to balance his life and time to ensure he was giving his best in every area. People who do that are very inspiring!

On another note, when I ride around with Michael, I notice people smiling at me, even when they aren’t riders. I love the fact that seeing me riding on the dashboard can bring a smile to so many faces! That’s an important part of what is about. We love to make people smile!

Our next trip of the evening was a nice long run out to the airport. I always love when Michael gets passengers like these. Our rider was a professional who needed someone to talk to, and we were able to have a positive, productive conversation as we traveled. The rider spoke with Michael about some of the personal struggles within their life. The rider had seen a counselor, but they didn’t feel like that person was a good fit. Michael reassured them that that’s normal; one person’s counseling style may be effective for some patients, but it may not be effective for others.

Seeing a counselor who is a bad fit is kind of like going to a restaurant and realizing that the food they serve isn’t right for you. It might be for somebody, but it’s not for you, and that’s okay! The important part is to keep looking—there’s bound to be a good counselor who can help you out. Don’t give up!

Our next set of passengers preparing to take the final oral exam to be flight attendants. They mentioned to Michael that a previous driver did not give them five-star service and talked down to them because they were flight attendants in training. People will remember how you make them feel, so give five-star service to everyone you meet, regardless of their occupation. There is no job beneath or above you, and everyone deserves to be given the best service possible.

Our last few trips of the night were short, but we were able to connect with the riders in various ways. One was a man who felt bad about his career, but he and Michael were able to connect, and he left the van feeling much better about life. Another rider was a transplant from California, and she and Michael were able to discuss how St. Louis’s current fledgling rideshare industry compared with the California’s well-established rideshare industry. Michael and I feel that people having more options for safer, more reliable, high-quality transportation will be better for drivers, riders, and the community at large.

Smiley Ridesharing: Our Home St. Louis

Michael sometimes reads on the internet that there are Uber drivers who really don’t like people. That kind of thing makes me want to scratch my head…which is a real problem, because I don’t have hands!

Michael and I think the best part about being an Uber driver is meeting all the new interesting people. For example, our most recent passenger was a gentleman from Argentina who was sent to St. Louis by his company. He’s been here long enough to embrace St. Louis as his home.

Michael can identify with how his passenger felt, because he’s ex-military and originally from South Texas. When Michael came here back in 2011, he had nothing but the clothes on his back, but he felt something in St. Louis he never felt anywhere else in the world. It felt like home! Michael’s son was born here, Michael is getting his education here, and this is where he met Rebecca and me, so no matter where he goes, St. Louis will always be home.

Whether you live in St. Louis or somewhere else, I hope it feels like home to you. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re not in the place you need to be; like orchids, we all have a particular place where we thrive best.

Smiley Ridesharing: Driver/Passenger Tips, Hints, and Reviews

Our next rider was a gentleman visiting St. Louis who was unfamiliar with the area’s food and attractions. Michael told him about Smiley Recommends, our section that will be home to reviews of local eateries and entertainment. He also shared about the blog itself and our mission to bring the lighter side of ridesharing and life with our audience.

The local Fox affiliate ran (Read hear: ‘Hey Siri, 108’: Police warn of prank…) a story about a viral prank going around: people are trying to trick iPhone users into saying “Hey Siri 108.” Saying that to Siri will trigger the iPhone to contact local emergency services unless the request is canceled within five seconds. While the prank is horrible and ties up resources that could be better used to help people who have an actual emergency (and it is illegal in most areas to prank call emergency services), it could also serve as a valuable tool to allow iPhone users to covertly call emergency services for help in a dangerous situation.

Smiley Anon

While we do mention riders in this blog, we blur the details about them and remove as many identifiers as possible before writing about them. At, we value confidentiality, and we do our best to provide five-star services that makes our customers feel comfortable and secure. With very rare exceptions, what happens in a rideshare should stay in rideshare. If you have a celebrity rider, or if you hear something about a stock, don’t act on it! Hold on to your integrity and let the information stay with your riders. You’re there to serve as a driver, not to sit there and get insider information or spread celebrity gossip.

In a group for St. Louis rideshare drivers, a driver asked if there was a direct number to get in touch with Uber. While there is no contact number for general questions, if you are in emergency situation where you or your passenger is unsafe, the number provided below is the one you should call: 800-285-9481

Topping off:tips

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