To whom it may concern,
Earlier this week I went on my first business trip. I’m in my mid-forties. I’ve been divorced and remarried. I’ve birthed, breastfed, butt-wiped, and homeschooled three kids. I worked as a death investigator for a medical examiner’s office – investigating sudden, unattended deaths of small children and adults. But it wasn’t until I was scheduling Lyft rides through an unfamiliar city that I realized something strange. I’m an adult.
READ MORE: How I became a Death Investigator
This was a week of firsts. First business trip. First time using a ride-share program. First time being scammed by a ride-share program. First time zip-lining. First time meeting several of my co-workers in person.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic week. We all met for a huge conference that only happens once every two years. Backing up a bit, the team I work with is from all over: Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Illinois, and Germany. We meet once a week through Microsoft Teams but this past week was the first time I met many of them in person. Even better, after spending some time together, I realized I’d met my people: salty, sarcastic, and inappropriate sense of humor.
The business trip consisted of ten-hour work days followed by official and unofficial team-building events. None of which involved any alcoholic beverages of any kind whatsoever. We were a very well-behaved group of individuals who only drank coffee, soda, and iced tea.
The official team building event was zip lining. At night. In the dark. And a few of us in attendance wondered if the employees working with us had indulged in a green leafy substance prior to our arrival.
READ MORE: No, Mom. I haven’t been drinking
But before we get to the zip lining, we have to talk about the quest to find the zip line place. That was an adventure in itself.
The GPS took us to a residential neighborhood next to the zip line park. That wasn’t so bad except that we kept getting lost in a neighborhood where it seemed like every other house had an inflatable Santa in the front yard. And naturally, we were all trying to gauge where we were by the Santas.
Eventually, we made it out of the neighborhood and found our way to the zip line park. That’s when things got exciting….assuming you like near-death experiences.
The zip lining would’ve been fine by itself but the part I struggled with was the obstacle courses that came with it. One of which was a bridge with broken sections we had to walk on. Did I mention the bridge didn’t have rails? The only thing we had to hold onto was the zip line. Oh… bonus: the bridge swayed as we moved on it.
As I stepped out on the bridge, I felt dizzy. It didn’t help that the bridge moved. My supervisor and coworker were trying their best to be supportive as I navigated my way across the bridge. And all I could think was:
Not gonna lie. I almost started to cry.
I made it through that obstacle without dying or crying. The thing about zip lining is that you come to a sudden, hard stop. And if you lose your footing, you can go backward and find yourself dangling in the middle of the zip line. Which is exactly what happened to me. Two zip lines from the finish I found myself dangling over the heads of my coworkers.
When this happens, you’re taught by the employees (who may or may not have been under the influence of a green leafy substance) to turn yourself around so your back is facing the stopping point and use your arms to pull yourself backward. In my case, I was hanging dead center between the starting and stopping point. That’s when one of the employees decided to zip line over to me and give me a tow back.
While he was making his way toward me, I was left there dangling, trying to make the best of an awkward situation.
“Hey, guys!” I called down to my coworkers. “I’m feeling kind of tired so I’m just gonna hang out here for a second.” I looked down at the tops of the trees below me. Not gonna lie. That was a frightening realization. But I was trying to make the best of it. I called down to my coworkers again. “Someone needs to tell these people the trees need pruning.”
A few minutes later I was towed back to the stopping point. I finished that zip line and then waited on the ground while my coworkers did the remaining zip lines. As I looked up, the obstacle courses they had to walk through were worse than the bridge that almost killed me. I was just fine with my decision to stay on the ground.
Getting back to the hotel was much easier than getting to the park. And the next day, we all shared an exciting conversation about plastic wrap.
It came out during the trip that I used to work as a death investigator. That’s when several of my coworkers began joking that I must have a terrifying set of skills.
And of course, I had to add fuel to the fire by making random comments. For example, one of my co-workers had to run to the store and purchase plastic wrap to package up items we had to ship back after the conference. When I heard him say he needed plastic wrap I couldn’t help myself. “Plastic wrap? Are you killing someone? ‘Cause, there’s a right and wrong way to use plastic wrap.” The conversation went downhill from there.
Later that afternoon, I took Lyft back to my hotel. I changed clothes, called my husband, and then got ready to meet my coworkers for dinner. I went back into the Lyft app. It showed I hadn’t been dropped off yet. Keep in mind this was the first time I’ve ever used any rideshare before. I thought maybe the app was glitching. I force-stopped the app and turned my phone off and on. Nothing. It still showed I was traveling. I was super annoyed I couldn’t arrange for another driver to pick me up so I called my supervisor and he made arrangements for someone else from the team to pick me up.
While I was waiting for him to arrive, I tried calling the Lyft driver. He hung up on me.
Two minutes later, I received notification from Lyft that I made it my destination at a charge of $120. The original price was $20. I had no idea I was such a generous tipper.
I logged into Lyft’s app and found the section where I could say I was overcharged for the ride. The app provided an automated message that said something to the effect of After reviewing your route we found there was a start and a stop. We’re okay with this so we’re not refunding you.
At this point I was pissed. I glared at my cell phone. “Oh. You want to play? Okay. Let’s play.” A few seconds later my coworker arrived to pick me up. I told him what happened.
He asked, “Do I need to swing by and pick up more plastic wrap?”
I didn’t want to traumatize my coworkers….yet. I’m of the opinion that you should wait at least 15 years before the people you work with know you’re fifty shades of fucking crazy. So while everyone else was unwinding with a non-fermented beverage, I turned to my cell phone. If Lyft wanted to play a game, I was ready.
READ MORE: The Game of Life
First, I contested the charge with PayPal. Next, I kicked Lyft in the proverbial nuts. I hopped onto their Facebook page and uploaded screenshots of my driver and his car along with the route we took which showed it was only a ten-minute drive. My driver claimed it was an hour-long drive. I reminded Lyft that if they viewed my travel history, they’d see I was consistent in traveling between the same two destinations since I’d been there. And because I’m fifty flavors of bitch – I told them their driver fraudulently overcharged me and if they condoned this behavior, they were accessories to criminal misconduct.
Twenty minutes later, they began the process of issuing me a $100 refund.
Lyft claimed their driver just forgot to end his route. Could that be true? Sure. It could be true. O.J. Simpson could actually be innocent. Cersie Lannister could really be kind and nurturing. Shit happens. It didn’t help that the driver hung up on me when I called.
After all of that, we went out for our last unnofficial team dinner where nothing fermented was consumed.
We had a really long wait to get a seat for dinner. After about 40 minutes, I went up to the hostess and asked if our table was ready. They said it was being cleaned and it’d be about ten more minutes. I went back and told my coworkers. One of them asked, “What did you say to them to get a table?”
“I gave them two choices. One of them was plastic wrap.”
After dinner I ordered another Lyft. My coworkers were kind enough to wait outside with me until the driver came. I looked at my phone and casually mentioned my driver’s name was Sally. After a few minutes, I saw Sally pull up on the opposite side of the street. I said goodbye to my coworkers and headed over.
As I was crossing the street, one member of my group- who was not absolutely not my supervisor because supervisor would never behave this way- yelled at the car. “Sally! Make sure you end the car ride in the app! She has plastic wrap and she knows how to use it!”
READ MORE: Our New Normal – Part 1
All in all, it was an incredible week. I enjoyed every minute of it. Except for the part where the Lyft driver overcharged me $100. That was stressful. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing all of my coworkers again. They’re awesome! And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’ve met my people.
Thanks for shopping Snark, Sass & Sarcasm! I’ll see you next time.