DC Driver Stories

If we do say so ourselves, we’ve got some pretty incredible partners driving with us here in the nation’s Capital. This week, we decided it was high time to share some of their stories on the Uber Blog, and we’ve picked four great Uber partners to get us started.

Ben Ado

How’d did you get started as a driver in DC?
I’m originally from Ethiopia, I’ve been driving for five years. I always wanted to do something on my own and I had a background in customer service and marketing before this. I always felt sort of underpaid, and I had a friend who was driving and doing much better than I was. So I saved up some money for a year and then started this company. It was a little hard at first because I was 24 when I started, and the insurance was $7,000 a year since I wasn’t yet 25. Once I finally turned 25 it dropped to $3,500 a year. I sacrificed a lot but I feel great about it and I love doing more with my business, I’m excited about entrepreneurship and living in DC.

What’s your favorite thing about Uber?
Uber is a great service. My favorite question to ask customers is “How did you hear about Uber?” And I’m not kidding, no one seems to be not satisfied with Uber. Uber is helping me maximize my income. There’s downtime where I’m basically not doing anything, and I’m now making right around 50% more than I was making before.

Where do you hang out? What do you do for fun?
I love to travel, meet new people. Driving in the city is a great way to meet new people and learn a lot from different people. It’s always a surprise who might get in your car every day. I’ve traveled to Germany, to Dubai, Toronto, Vancouver… But I want to do more! Right now I’m focusing a lot of my free time on my house. I bought a house in DC, in Ward 8, and it’s a fixer-upper, so I’m doing a lot of work there. I like hanging out on H St. And there’s another neighborhood bar—Boundary Stone. It’s really great, they guys over there are very nice. I just like small bars, not too many clubs anymore.

Any crazy stories from driving in DC?
I’ve driven a few celebrities before, even one through Uber! And before Uber, Sarah Silverman—she’s a great customer, really, really nice. I’ve driven some senators, governors. A funny story I was telling Rachel [Uber DC GM] the other day, I had a dispatch out in southeast and I was wondering who I might be picking up out there. It was a couple with their two kids, I helped them with their strollers, and all that. They were from Singapore, in town visiting, and apparently they’d done their research on the Internet which pointed them to a bed and breakfast in southeast. And apparently the cab driver who drove them there from the airport—they asked for a phone number for a cab service to pick them up—he told them “To be honest, no cab drivers will come pick you up out here. Your best option is to download Uber,” and he told them how to download the app and sign up.

 

Nabil Ben Younes

How’d did you get started as a driver in DC?
I ended up here about 15 years ago. I was managing a retail home improvement business, and when the economy started crashing I was losing money, and decided ‘I don’t want to do this anymore, let’s start something new.’ Which was my limo service. I started in June 2009.

What’s your favorite thing about Uber?
I first heard about Uber from a friend in San Francisco and I sent an email. Then Uber reached out and it’s been a really great experience ever since. Our business has a lot of dead time, and Uber fills that empty time for us. It’s good money.

Where do you hang out? What do you do for fun?
I hang out near home in Gaithersburg a lot. Although I like hanging out in DC, too, and now I have Uber… So I can use Uber myself, too!

Do you have a dream road trip?
I did a road trip once, a whole tour of the U.S. From here to North Dakota, Yellowstone, San Francisco, Vegas, Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Graceland, and more. I loved the Grand Canyon—you’d think it’s like a hole in the ground, but it’s not.

What’s one thing that sets your service with Uber apart?
We know all the good spots because we hear from a lot of clients, “this is a good restaurant, bar, etc…” We transfer that information from client to client, letting them know about the good spots. I recommend Graffiato all the time, it’s all five-star reviews so far. I can’t wait to try it.

 

Mohsan Shafqat

Editor’s Note: Mohsan is one of our hardest working drivers, logging hundreds of hours with Uber!

How’d did you get started as a driver in DC?
I grew up in Pakistan originally, and then moved to Springfield, Virginia. Now I’ve been driving my limo for 10 years. I use it to support my family, my wife and my daughter.

What’s your favorite thing about Uber?
I was working with another company and then started with Uber. After working with Uber part time for one week, I quit working with my other company completely. My favorite part is how people know who is their driver, where they are, what time they are coming, and when they arrive they get the text message saying we are outside. I love these parts. And now I see more success and a better future and I think about making this type of money. I can see that I have a future with Uber to grow my business, to buy more cars and hire drivers, and better support my family.

Where do you hang out? What do you do for fun?
I like the area around 16th and U St. when I’m driving, because it’s close to everything. I love hanging out around 14th and U St. in my free time because of all the restaurants. And then I go to the gym and exercise, and ride my bike. Now that Summer is coming I’ll do it more often, too.

Any crazy stories from driving in DC?
No crazy stories, but with Uber all the clients are really nice. Even when you have a group of people who have had a little too much to drink and want to squeeze in, we help them get another car so we can keep providing excellent service for Uber.

Do you have a dream road trip?
I would go to Miami. I’ve been there two times and I love it. I’ve traveled all over the country. Before I started my business I bought a bus in Seattle and we drove from there to here. It took us six days but we traveled the whole United States, from Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean.

 

Abdul Jabbar Choudhary

How’d did you get started as a driver in DC?
I started driving around 9/11, and I’ve been driving for about 11 years now. There was a lot of demand for limousines around that time, so I was working for CNN, some reporters and all that. I bought my car [a beautiful Mercedes-Benz S550] about two years ago. A lot of events with delegates from the middle east were happening and they preferred this kind of car, so I got it.

What’s your favorite thing about Uber?
I heard about Uber from a friend. Since then it’s been a great experience. The customers are honest people, straight-forward. I can always see a log of my trips online and my rating. No surprises! All the time we were spending just sitting around between jobs before, now we can make some extra money during that time to help take care of our families. I have two kids—a boy and a girl—and my wife, Uber is helping a lot. Uber is a great company.

Where do you hang out? What do you do for fun?
I love Capitol Hill. People are educated, very friendly and sophisticated. I love Eastern Market in particular. One of my favorite restaurants is over near there, called Sizzling. Good steak and cheese. For fun we’ll get together with neighborhood families, talk about the kids, cookout, find a picnic spot to go out to. Once you get married you don’t go out single, anymore!

Any crazy stories from driving in DC?
Nothing special… But people get shocked when they see this car coming to pick them up. They ordered an Uber and they’re looking at me, standing outside waiting… They knock on the door, asking “Is this for me? My wish come true?” Some people even go back inside and call me, “Are you sure you’re here for me?” I tell them “Yes, I’m here to pick you up!” They come laughing, singing, so excited. And I’ve driven some pretty famous people, lots of government officials, dignitaries, a few celebrities like Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin…

Do you have a dream road trip?
I travel a fair bit, I’ve been outside the country London, Paris. My favorite place is Colorado—there’s so much natural life, very friendly people, the Aspen area is very nice.

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