Share A Ride Indeed! –

I have never used a ride-share service in Ghana. I thank God that I have never had the need to use a ride-share service in Ghana. I think I would rather use a taxi. And I have said on this blog exactly what I think of Ghanaian taxi drivers. But I would prefer them to the other lot.

Come to think of it, ride-share drivers are just glorified taxi drivers in Ghana. Which is a shame, because when you call a ride-share service, you expect something better than a taxi service.

I have however, used ride-share services in the US. And I had some pretty good experiences. There was the white American man who had everything I could possibly need in his car: water, tissues, wipes, phone chargers (multiple types), and a soda. And he was even a good conversationalist. I honestly don’t remember what we spoke about (it was about 5 years ago), but I do remember that it was a one hour drive that felt like 15 minutes.

And there were the two experiences I had with African women. One was from Congo, and she was playing zouk music in her car. She freaked when I began to chat with her and showed off my limited zouk knowledge (Kassav et al). A most pleasant ride that included extended commentary about the politics in Congo and Ghana. I know you’re not supposed to tip ride-shares, but I did that night. I swear, I didn’t want the ride to end.

The second experience was with a woman from Sierra Leone. Very pleasant, very helpful, and she also freaked when I said I was Ghanaian. The thing I remember about her most though was the fact that she held her mobile phone in her hand from the beginning of the journey till the end. She didn’t speak on the phone, or take any calls, but she held onto it and gesticulated with it nonstop as we chatted. Must have been related to my wife….

But there was also a not particularly warm white man, who, at the end of the journey, almost instructed me to give him a 5-star rating. Not that he had done anything to deserve it. So I didn’t. Oh, and by the by, I used a few rides in Minneapolis, and they were driven by people from a particular African country. And they were all unpleasant. All male, all scowling, all mono-syllabic. Jeez!

Which brings us back to another African country: Ghana. Like I said, I have never used a ride-share in Ghana. So all I know about ride-shares comes from family and friends. Like the so-called driver who dropped my daughter about 50 metres from our gate late one night. Why? Because she had pointed out our house: “That’s the house I’m going to.” So he stopped immediately. See what I mean?

Or the other creature masquerading as a human being who refused to drive into the yard of my wife’s company to collect her stuff, because the gate was ‘too narrow’. How won’t it be too narrow when you bought your license?? A yard I regularly drive into with an SUV. And then he rudely told her to bring her stuff out to the street. For once my soft-hearted wife told him exactly what he could do with his car. And it did not involve driving….

There have been some good stories though. My son was arrested by police one dawn as he came home from clubbing. That’s a whole different story, and one of the reasons why I hate Ghana Police passionately. The call I got telling me to come and help him out was placed on the Uber driver’s mobile phone. Was it because the driver was female? She actually waited for me to turn up and sort the situation out, before she left, God bless her.

The wife has had quite a few very pleasant drivers too, although she can’t stand those who refuse to lower the volume of their radios, or who want to chat, or, horror of horrors, aren’t wearing a mask. And she prefers to pay extra for greater comfort (bigger car bigger seats, air-conditioning).

My family use these ride-shares extensively because of the great convenience they provide. I’m grateful for that, although I pray nonstop until they arrive home safely. But for me? Those rude drivers? The typical Ghanaian attitude to service (non-existent)? The inability to safely drive a vehicle? The total incomprehension of what Google Maps can do? I think I’d rather walk. After all I need the exercise….and I know how many stars to rate myself.

Did I say….that I don’t even have any of the apps on my phone?

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