I’m at a party with my friend Laurie and we’re talking to this really nice guy who has a seven month old daughter. I’m typically really cautious when I talk to new parents because I don’t want to scare them. Especially Dads. Especially the Dads of daughters.
Then Laurie and I started talking about why every kid should have Uber on their phone and when we got to the part about being a teenager and on occasion not wanting to get into a car with a Dad who plays grab-ass the new Dad looked at us with horror in his eyes. Even though 100% of the adult women at the party sort of nodded and knew what that felt like I was all, “Oh but times have changed. I’m sure it will never be an issue.”
Because ya know… new parents… sometimes you’ve got to lie to them.
Laurie was insistent that I’ve got to blog about it so, here’s how I use Uber with my kids.
I’ve installed the app on Jane’s phone because she’s out and about with her friends both during the day and at night. She also goes to parties and not all of them are with close friends. I’ve told her that she should use Uber to get herself home if she is ever uncomfortable getting into a car with anyone for any reason. Some of the reasons I’ve talked to her about are parents who have been drinking, parents who make her uncomfortable (and there doesn’t have to be a name for the discomfort), teenagers who make her uncomfortable (same thing, no reason needed) or if there’s anyplace she wants to leave and she doesn’t want me picking her up.
I’ve told Jane, and I will honor this, that if she gets herself home with Uber from a sticky situation at noon or at 2am there will not be any negative consequences. She won’t be in trouble for going to a party with alcohol or drugs. She won’t be in trouble for being out with friends. She will never be punished for getting herself home safely.
I’ve decided to give the kids Uber for a variety of reasons. Each and every reason in it’s essence is because I love my children.
When I met the Push Girls last year I noted that four of the five women I met were in wheelchairs because of car accidents. The accidents were all excessive speed or alcohol fueled. If a smart phone app can get my child home without risking dangerous driving conditions I’d be a fool to not use it.
Parents of teens: I’m going to ask you to do something we should all do at least once a day. I want you to be still and quiet and try to remember being 14 or even 17. Now put yourself at your friend’s house and their parents have just left. All of a sudden 5 other kids appear and they’re thinking about drinking a beer and smoking some pot. What does the 14 year old you do?
The only answer I have is that I know the 14 year old you doesn’t call Mommy for a ride home.
Now imagine the same scenario. The 14 year old you pulls out a smart phone (it’s probably already out) and texts for a town car. 14 year old you can hop into the back seat of a limo and get home. My credit card information is already stored in the app, no money changes hands and your private driver gets you home.
Boom. Done. Decision made.
Taxis in Los Angeles are filthy, dangerous and unreliable. Public transportation is something we struggle with and is only marginally safe. Plus there could be walks of up to a mile, kids can’t do that when they’re already feeling unsure. Los Angeles is not the worst city for public transportation but it’s close.
I’m totally okay with UberX and I’ve loved my drivers but I’ve asked my kids to use a black car first. I’d rather have a professional driver with them but if there’s an exceedingly long wait they should use UberX. With little kids I like that extra level of vetting but at the end of the day UberX would probably be just fine.
Thus far Jane’s only used Uber with friends during a scavenger hunt (long Hollywood story). I wasn’t exactly thrilled but part of me is delighted that she and her friends can get themselves around town and have experienced the app without me.
Remember when you’d go out and your parents wanted to be sure that you had $20 on hand to not spend, it was just in case money? Well, this is the just in case app and I think it’s brilliant.
If you haven’t signed up for Uber you can use my link here to get a $10 credit.