For the uninitiated, or those just joining us, this is the timeline and the links to the blogposts that got my kicked out of the official Lyft Facebook group for drivers in San Francisco, the Pacific Driver Lounge.
I started driving for Lyft in March of 2014. From the beginning, since I fancy myself a writer and publish the occasional book and/or zine, I planned to keep a “driver’s log” of my experiences as a Lyft driver. In July, I published a zine called Behind the Wheel. Some of the material I’d written for the zine didn’t make the cut. For whatever reason… perhaps it wasn’t good enough or maybe it was too technical… who knows. (Just don’t ask the Wife about it… she's a brutal critic.)
Anyway, for the hell of it, I posted several outtakes on my Medium page, including a very ad hominem take on the fanaticism of Lyft drivers:
A few weeks later, in a late night, pot- and alcohol-induced flurry of impulsivity, I posted a link to the piece on a Facebook group for rideshare drivers called Uber, SideCar, Lyft Drivers Community. Not expecting much but a few page views (who doesn’t love clicks), I woke up the next morning to a shit storm. Somebody from the community forum had posted it on the Pacific Driver lounge. Other drivers had reposted it on Lounges for their cities. I had over a thousand page views in a few hours and the clicks just kept on coming. Not only were Lyft drivers reposting the story, Uber drivers were propagating it as well. The response was overwhelming. Some people laughed, most people got upset, numerous people talked smack... people did all the things people do on the internet. It was hilarious that folks would get so upset over a half-baked rant written on my iPhone as I was passing out from a hard night of Lyfting in the city (and a few stupefacients when I got home).
Some of the comments were pretty funny so I collected a bunch and posted them on my blog:
Since it seemed germane to the group, I posted a link on the Uber, SideCar, Lyft Drivers Community forum. I tweeted a link to it as well. Which isn’t saying much. I only have 190 followers.
Shortly after that, Matt Jensen, a community outreach person for Lyft, or something called a "Lounge mentor" (if anybody can clarify his position, please leave a comment), tweeted at me asking for suggestions to improve the Lyft experience. I posted this constructive and very earnest -- at least in my mind -- response:
After posting links, I was no longer able to access the Pacific Driver Lounge.
Not that I was surprised. After all, I collected all the comments because I figured I'd be kicked out. I knew, from being a member of the Lounge that people got expelled from the Lounge all the time. And not just for getting in accidents, but for the silliest of offenses, like talking bad about Lyft.
C’est la vie. No more Honey Boo Boo for me.
About two weeks later, I found a personal message from Matt Jensen about being removed from the Lounge in my “other” inbox on Facebook. (Why do we need an “other” inbox anyway?) It was rife with paranoia, suggesting I shared “lounge details” with Uber. As if I had some connection to Uber, besides taking $500 from them for that one ride deal they offered back in May.
Even though it was somewhat offensive that I never received an official email letting me know that I was banned from the Lounge, sending a Facebook message that he had to know would go to my “other” folder on Facebook since we weren’t friends seemed a little… unfriendly. Still, it was nice to get some communication about it. I took a screengrab and posted it on my blog:
So that about wraps it up.
Well, not exactly.
Recently, a lawyer contacted me about a case she was working on for another driver who was kicked out of the Lounge. Something about unlawful retaliation in the workplace or discrimination in the workplace… Wanted me to discuss my experience with Lyft and the Lounge… I wrote this blogpost instead.
I don’t know, man… lawsuits are a bit of a stretch. If you're able to sift through all this social media/blogpost nonsense, it’s obvious I was toying with Lyft. They made a play, I countered and they cried foul.
The Lyft folks are a bunch of big babies. Somebody needs to call them a wahbulance.
The only downside to all this tomfoolery is that I got kicked out of the Lounge. Which sucks. Not only is the Lounge a place for drivers to get information about changes to Lyft policies and the driving experience in San Francisco, it’s also extremely entertaining. Is there anything better than gawking at a collective lack of self-awareness?
Lyft, please let back into the Pacific Driver Lounge.
I miss my Honey Boo Boo!