Trying to get to or from most Super Bowl attractions can be uber frustrating. Saturday afternoon, I waited 15 minutes for my Uber, a ride initially noted as five minutes away. I watched the icon of her vehicle trudge millimeter by millimeter. It was like I was already stuck in traffic. When she finally arrived, I hopped in and we started to talk.
The driver, Olivia told me she thought it would have been more lucrative to drive during this busy period. I asked if it’s been more frustrating (because of traffic) than worth it. She said yes. Unescapable traffic equals fewer rides. Less money. She lamented that she used to be able to earn over $300 driving fewer than eight hours but now makes around $100 in the same time. Too many drivers.
Consistent with all seven Uber drivers I have had the pleasure to ride with in and around Atlanta, southern hospitality beams. It’s not phony small talk, either. I’ve learned a lot. And, I have tried to impart some practical advice, too. As I shared with my previous Uber drivers — Laron, Bruce, Aminata, Guy, Otaviah and Carlton — I told Olivia that driving near the stadium on Sunday would likely be difficult.
Last year in Minneapolis, Uber’s map did not reflect the NFL’s security perimeter near the stadium. Drivers and riders had to improvise on where to get dropped off or picked up. When I got out of the game, the real-feel temperature was around -25. I had to walk several blocks from the stadium to enter an area where cars were allowed. It wasn’t fun.
Getting around a Super Bowl host city can force one to get creative. During my first trip Saturday in gridlocked traffic in the side streets near Centennial Olympic Park, I hopped out of my Uber once I spotted an electric scooter on the corner that I could ride to the media center. More fun this way. More on these scooters to come.
While I have a rental car in Atlanta, it’s not easy to park downtown. Expensive, too. So, I leave my car in the parking garage of Fox’s Atlanta bureau and use Uber to get close to the events.
As I waited for my Uber near the stadium Thursday afternoon, I spotted a cell phone on the sidewalk. Attached to the back was a Georgia EBT food stamps card. I grabbed it and got into the Uber. Unfamiliar with how to work this phone so I could try to reach the owner, I was relieved when the owner called a few minutes later. No longer in the area, he was headed to the airport to fly to New York.
The man sounded nervous. I tried to assure him he would get his phone back. He said he worked at the CNN store. I smiled, told him I work at Fox News and that he was in good hands. When he called this afternoon to thank me for delivering the phone to one of his colleagues at the CNN Center, I asked, “Please do me one favor. Next time somebody takes a shot at the rival, please share this story.” He laughed and said he would, indeed.
Hear Jared Max sports reports every weekday morning on Fox News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115.