After a five-hour delay in Houston due to some unknown issue with our plane, my EM party of two was finally airborne headed to DC by way of Atlanta, GA. The air travel was smooth and uneventful. Once on the ground at Ronald Reagan Airport, it was off to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s rest.
The next morning it was time to check out of our one-night sleepover and head to the resort. In order to get to National Harbor Resort, we basically had two options; taxi or Uber. Having never tried Uber before, I asked the hotel Concierge for advice. The Concierge highly recommended Uber and provided me with a $20 Uber gift card; so glad I asked.
Once I had downloaded the Uber app, I was surprised at how user friendly it was. In fact, I was able to see where the nearest Uber drivers were and immediately select the one that was closest. To take it a step further, the Uber app gave me the driver’s phone number so I called him up to make sure he was on his way. A minute later he pulled up and we hopped in with our luggage.
Our Uber driver was named Samir from Afghanistan. He spoke pretty good English so I struck up a conversation with him.
Samir told me that he had been a driver for Uber for about six months. Prior to Uber, he admitted that times had been hard for him and his family, especially his first year in the United States. Samir noted that he has been in the U.S. for about three years after working for the United States in Afghanistan for about seven years. He signed up for and was accepted into a program that allowed Afghanistan personal that had worked for the U.S. in his country to be granted a Visa for travel to the America.
His job in Afghanistan was good, but he wanted to seek out opportunities for him and his family in America. I asked Samir if he was glad he made the decision to move from Afghanistan to Washington DC? He replied “yes, but the cultural differences are taking some getting use to.” Samir went on to note that his biggest asset is his ability to understand and speak English. Many of his countrymen that are here do not speak English at all and are having a very difficult time.
In addition to driving for Uber to provide for his family, Samir is enrolled in college for business administration. However, after we discussed some other options to better prepare him for other employment opportunities, he is strongly considering enrolling in a Tech School for Air Conditioner Maintenance and Repair.
Samir mentioned that one of his biggest challenges upon arriving in America was renting an apartment because the apartment complexes were all looking for him to have proof of employment. He said that he was able to use google to find out where other Afghan countrymen were staying, and that was his saving grace.
At the end of my first ever Uber experience, I was very pleased. The conversation with Samir was very substantive and made the time pass by quickly. The total Uber fee ended up being zero because of the $20 gift card we were blessed with at the hotel.
Uber gets an EM A+ Rating from me. And if Samir is an indication of the caliber and quality of the Uber fleet of drivers, then I plan on choosing Uber as the first option in getting from point A to point B.