For Shola (name has been changed) who had spent the last one year “serving” the nation after completing her 4-year programme at the university, passing-out parade (POP) day marked the moment she was going to be rewarded for all that work.
It is expected of Nigerian university graduates to go through a compulsory one-year national service, after which they are issued with the famous (or perhaps, infamous) certificate of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) — with which they are expected to “go into the world and conquer.”
On Shola’s POP day, she was just as elated as the thousands of other soon-to-be ex-corps members. She was in high spirits when she took the Uber ride she had booked with her phone. She rode this ride to the venue of the POP ceremony.
Being a particularly chatty person and a graduate of Theatre Arts who was having a really good day, it was easy for her to strike up a conversation with the Uber driver who may have thought himself really funny, especially as he got her to giggle at will and reply with identical wit.
Shola alighted once she reached her destination and bade goodbye to the Uber driver who by now was overestimating his comical prowess and misreading Shola’s fun, easy-going personality as a sign that there was “something more” between them. Hell, for all he knew, she was really into him and their kids were going to adorable.
– Lady calls out a bolt app driver, whose aim is to chat ‘beautiful girls’ in his ‘line of hustle’, over invasion of privacy. pic.twitter.com/BSOOrSVW8P
— SubDeliveryZone (@SubDeliveryZone) October 24, 2019
But he was wrong, she was mostly acting. Shola was excited about her POP and that was why she “vibed” with the Uber driver. And he should have known that before he decided to reach out to her on WhatsApp and tell her he was into her too.
Well, that was until he learned that she wasn’t feeling him at all and it was rather uncouth and unprofessional of him to take advantage of a phone number he only got his hands on because he was working.
This is just one of the many recent cases of drivers on app-based taxi platforms like Uber and Bolt appearing to confuse the platforms as dating apps through which they can link up with “babes.”
Over the past few weeks, there’s been more than a few reports of Uber/Bolt drivers calling or texting female riders after trips to strike up some sort of “friendship”. And it’s not only off-putting but also irritable.
Like, how is it okay for an Uber driver to text a female at 10 pm through a number he got on the app two weeks after he drove her to an eatery? It’s just creepy. And this is yet another issue the taxi-hailing companies will now have to look into.
It’s perfectly natural for two adults of the opposite sex to become “friends” but this is only cool if those two adults consent to the “invasion of privacy” that is sharing phone digits these days. It can’t be okay for an Uber or Bolt driver to take the liberty to use data strictly intended for business purposes for personal gains.
That’s like a banker calling up a customer to talk him/her into buying a fancy car because the banker looked through the accounts and found a couple of millions just lying around.
The onus is, therefore, on the taxi-haling companies to keep their drivers in line and ensure that complaints about drivers calling up female customers with the numbers they got from the app and trying to talk them into “being friends”, are taken very seriously and swiftly dealt with. Drivers found wanting should be cut off from their platforms to maintain some semblance of sanity in the system.
Anyone with a decent car and valid identification/certification can become an Uber or Bolt driver in Nigeria these days. The laxity in conducting background checks and the flaws in the vetting process means makes it hard to tell with certainty who one is getting into a car with these days.
Thus, there’s some work cut out for these companies in ensuring that drivers who are found wanting are subjected to more punishment than a 1-star rating and a late response on social media that says the matter is being looked into.
Featured Image Courtesy: Bolt