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My accident with the Uber driver mask

Well, yesterday I met my first “situation” with Uber mask.

Uber requires everyone to wear masks

Uber has a policy that requires all drivers and passengers to wear masks, with a few exceptions.

I haven̵

7;t had much direct experience with this until now. For the first six months of the pandemic I used a ridesharing app twice, only to get to and from the airport for my only international trip. Both rides were peaceful.

However, since I arrived in Germany I have used Uber a little more to get around and my experiences until this weekend have been good: the pilots were not only wearing masks, but there was a plastic shield in the front row. and the last row. Between that and opening the windows, it looks pretty safe.

And then I did my run yesterday.

My Uber driver was angry about wearing a mask

Yesterday afternoon Ford and I got on an Uber in Berlin. It was pouring rain so the windows could not be opened, and this was also the first Uber I have been on since I arrived in Germany where there was no plastic shield between the first and second row (they are not unsure if this is a policy one way or another, or just something drivers do).

I sat right behind the driver, while Ford sat next to me. When we got into the Uber I saw the driver put on his mask … and then 10 seconds after we got in he took it off. I couldn’t see it directly, but rather Ford sent me a message about it.

About a minute after the start of the race the boy said (in German) “is everything okay?”

Ford politely said “could you please put your mask on?”

He snorted and replied “why, do you think he has the crown?”

At that point I explained to him that we don’t know who has the coronavirus, that it’s about taking precautions, and that Uber requires drivers and passengers to wear masks.

While then wearing the mask:

  • He spent 30 seconds complaining about the masks and how uncomfortable they are to wear and how he can’t believe we think he has the coronavirus
  • He started driving much more aggressively, accelerating fast, going fast cornering, etc.

Given Uber’s instant feedback loop, I’m a little confused as to why he was so controversial about it. If he had just put on the mask, I probably wouldn’t have reported him or given a bad review. But because he was so rude, I ended up giving him a star and reporting him for not wearing the mask.

For what it’s worth, he was the lowest-rated Uber driver we’ve had in a while (4.6 stars), so I guess that’s no surprise.

Bottom line

Apparently asking someone to wear a mask in line with a company’s policy is now tantamount to accusing them of having the coronavirus. To be clear, for me it’s not about being in favor of the mask or anti-mask.

It’s quite simple: Uber promises that drivers will wear masks, with limited exceptions. He wore the mask when we got into the car to indicate he was wearing a mask, but then took it off seconds later. And then he tried to argue when he confronted it, and I’m not sure what exactly he was trying to achieve with that …

If you used a ridesharing app during the pandemic, have you had any accidents with the mask? How did they go?

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