Wrong Turn

Yesterday a very good friend of mine shared a horrific incident she had with an abusive and sociopathic Lyft driver on social media. Although she kicked his ass and handled her business like the boss she is, she admitted she was hesitant to come forward and share her story. Understandable given how traumatic and scary the ordeal was.

To show my solidarity and support, I’m coming forward and sharing an incident that occurred with a bigoted Uber driver about two years back.



A gent by the name of Sun Tzu once said that “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

One thing I’ve come to learn over the years as a student of martial arts and an equal rights activist, there a million ways to kick someone’s ass without throwing a punch, raising a sword or aiming a gun.

Case in point:

So in the years I’ve used both Uber and Lyft I’ve only had two truly negative experiences. The worst happened about two years ago.

It was late one fall evening and I was heading home from a date and an Uber arrived to pick me up. I got in and the driver caught my eye. Arabic brother, late 20s early 30s. Tall, suave, very handsome. I was happy to ride him, I mean ride with him. At least I was until he gave me the look.

It’s a look I’ve seen my entire life. Growing up as a Wakandan Cherokee Eternian in the South, it’s the condescending glare that Confederates give to show their resentment of that whole Emancipation Proclamation business. Without him uttering a word, I already knew he was on some anti-blackness tip.


As I always do, I greeted the driver, was pleasant, said yes sir, no sir, sat in the back. I put my earphones on and checked my emails on my cell. Now I only lived less than five miles away and it was a straight shot. I have walked the distance in the past. It should’ve been maybe a 10 min drive if that. Suddenly he’s taking wrong turns and he blurts out, this road is closed and we’re going to have to take a detour.

Even though I was looking at my cell, I was watching him and the roads. Sometimes I silently observe the drivers just to see what they are going to try to get away with when they think no one is watching them. There was no road closure, he just blurted that out thinking I wasn’t paying attention. So he turns into a parking lot and then keeps driving around. As the trip continues he keeps driving in circles and pretending to be lost. One minute we’re downtown, next minute we’re near Fisk University, next minute we’re back in Downtown, next minute we’re near T.S.U., next minute we’re around Centennial Park. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out he was trying to run up mileage to make the trip more expensive. The Transporter this clown was not.


Too often people believe that Blacks are gullible and easy targets to be exploited and abused. As he would soon learn, he picked the wrong Wakandan on the right day. Or the right Wakandan on the wrong day. I continued to give the Driver directions where to go which he continued to ignore.

But to quote one Nikki Mudarris, “When you’re a boss, never let them see you sweat.”

I sat back and played cool. Eventually he was going to get tired. I didn’t know if his plan was to frustrate me as well but I’m not the one you want to play head games with.


“Um where are you going?” I repeatedly and politely asked.

“I apologize the GPS is getting me lost,” he stated.

“Oh really, because I have my Google Maps right here, if you need assistance. We will get you right together.”

After all, #GoogleIsYourSisterInChrist. So after getting tired of giving me a tour of North Nashville, he decided to turn on my street to take me home but not before driving fast and reckless and nearly hitting a parked car and swerving away at the last second.


Not sure if he was trying to rattle me but I sat there calm, collected, not the least bit bothered.

About 35-40 minutes later, he finally pulled up to the house.

“Here we are, ” he said. “Sorry about us getting lost. The GPS messed up.”

“That’s okay, ” I said getting out the car, “You should let Uber know.” I began to close the door when at the last second I paused and opened it back up. I leaned back into the car inches from the Driver’s ear and in a calm low genial voice I stated. “I’m also going to let Uber know. About everything. I know what you did. And I know exactly what you were trying to do. And I expect to be fully reimbursed for this trip. Now, you drive safely and you have a wonderful evening. Good night.”

He muttered, “……….Good night.”

I shut the door and muttered under my breath, “Don’t make no gawd dayum sense. Showing your whole ass up in these streets, acting a b!tch, trying to exploit your own people. Yeah I said your own people. You black too my Negro of the deserts and the sands. Don’t get it twisted up in this motherfucker.”

And with that I popped the collar of my peacoat, tossed back my hair and strode away until I blended into the shadows and vanished. Cause because nothing says gangsta like dramatic effect and making an exit like you’re the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen or Midnighter or Angel.




Once I got behind the house, I doubled back around, hid behind the bushes and watched him.  He still had the light on his car and the fear and panic on his face said everything. He remained parked for a few minutes, no doubt typing a quick email to his bosses, trying to do preliminary damage control.

Needless to say, not a cent was paid for that trip. But best believe that trip cost that clown a lot more.



Speculative Fiction Novelist. Author of Hollowstone, West of Sunset and other cool stories. Wordsmith, activist and nerd seraph. Saving the world and/or taking it over. http://www.dennisupkins.wordpress.com