A Funny Ride
The driver kept peering into this rearview mirror. The lady seemed troubled and she kept staring out the window, muttering to herself.
He swallowed, his throat choking up in fear. He knew that crime had no limits and his job was a risky one.
There were still 10 miles to go, it was a good fee. But was it worth it?
On The Job
Eric Cartwright had been an Uber driver for three long years.
It was a job that brought him both moments of excitement and boredom, but it paid the bills.
On a chilly afternoon, while parked by the busy streets of the main town, he received a notification for a pickup. It was just around the corner; he could make it.
Quips And Quirks
In the time 40-year-old Eric had been an Uber driver, he had encountered his fair share of passengers.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t really pick and choose his rides, so he was always stuck with rude passengers.
But on that particular evening, as he glanced at his phone, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of unease when he saw the notification that there was a pickup in the heart of the main town.
Last One For The Day
Seeing as it was almost the end of the day, Eric knew it would probably be an erratic business person trying to get out of the bustle of the town.
The pin dropped at a location he knew all too well, a place notorious for its eccentric clientele.
The request came from a few blocks away, and Eric knew the area well. As he navigated through the labyrinthine streets, he wondered what kind of passenger he’d be picking up tonight.
Who Is She
Finally, he arrived at the designated spot, and there she stood, an elderly lady who appeared to be in her late 60s.
Pulling up to the curb, Eric’s eyes fell upon her, who appeared to be in her early sixties.
She was dressed immaculately, with every hair in place, but her demeanor suggested a storm brewing beneath the surface.
A Strange Lady
Her name was Karen Smith, according to the app, and as she got into the car, Eric offered a warm smile.
She was dressed impeccably, her silver hair neatly combed, and she exuded an air of elegance.
Yet, something about her demeanor seemed off. Her eyes held a distant, troubled look as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Woman Of Few Words
Eric smiled politely as she climbed into the back seat.
“Good evening, ma’am. Where can I take you tonight?” The woman’s response was curt and brusque. “Just drive. I don’t want to talk.”
But Eric was obligated to be friendly so he continued. ” How’s your day been?” he inquired, hoping to break the ice.
Eric couldn’t help but feel a pang of unease. She just ignored him and continued to stare out the window. There wasn’t even anything to see.
The tired driver had encountered countless passengers over the years, but this one gave him an odd feeling.
He decided to be polite and offer her some amenities to make the ride more comfortable.
Easing The Ride
Karen, however, seemed determined to remain encased in her shell of displeasure. She grunted a curt reply and settled into the backseat without making eye contact.
Eric felt the tension in the air and decided to offer her some bottled water, hoping it might ease her nerves.
“Alright, ma’am,” he said, trying to ease the tension in the car. “Would you like some water or maybe some calming music?”
A Troubled Lady
Eric shook the bottle in the air. She glared at him, her eyes sharp and piercing. “I said I don’t want to talk, and I don’t want any of your nonsense.”
“Well, it is here if you would like a drink, ma’am?” he asked politely, holding out the bottle.
Would the old lady finally soften up towards him?
Eric was patient with her. But Karen’s response was sharp and swift. “No, I don’t need your water, just drive!”
Eric nodded, his heart racing now. He’d dealt with difficult passengers before, but this was different.
There was an underlying sense of unpredictability about this woman, as if she were teetering on the edge of something he couldn’t quite grasp.
Long Way To Go
The journey continued in silence, the only sound being the low hum of the car’s engine and the occasional distant honk of a horn.
Eric kept his eyes on the road, stealing occasional glances at the rearview mirror to check on his passenger.
As the minutes ticked by, the tension in the car grew thicker. Eric’s imagination ran wild, conjuring up all sorts of ominous scenarios. What if this woman had some hidden agenda? What if she had a weapon concealed in her bag?
Is Everything Okay
Finally, unable to bear the silence any longer, Eric attempted to strike up a conversation again.
“Ma’am, I apologize if I’ve made you uncomfortable in any way. Is there something on your mind? Maybe I can help.”
The woman’s lips curled into a sinister smile, sending shivers down Eric’s spine. “Help? You think you can help me, young man? No one can help me. I’m beyond help.”
Stuck Behind The Wheel
Eric’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. He desperately wished he could end this ride and drop the woman off at the nearest police station or mental health facility. But he knew he had a job to do.
The car continued down darkened streets, and Eric couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched.
He glanced at his GPS, noting that they were still some distance from the woman’s destination. It felt like an eternity.
What To Do
Suddenly, the woman spoke again, her voice now laced with a chilling certainty. “You know, Eric, people like you, always trying to be heroes, always trying to fix things. But some things can’t be fixed.”
Eric’s heart pounded in his chest as he realized that she knew his name. Panic surged through him, and he contemplated pulling over and fleeing the car.
But he couldn’t leave his passenger on the side of the road, especially not in her fragile state.
Taking A Chance
Eric was panicking. He had a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach as if something bad was about to happen.
“What do you mean?” he stammered, his voice trembling.
She leaned forward, her breath hot on his neck. “I mean, some people are just meant to suffer. Some people are meant to be punished for their sins.”
The cryptic words sent chills down Eric’s spine. He had no idea what this woman was talking about, and he feared that he was in way over his head.
There was lots of traffic at 4PM. He was stuck at a busy intersection.
He glanced at the GPS again, desperately hoping they were close to their destination. Would he make this trip alive?
Something Is Wrong
Eric nodded, a bit taken aback by her harsh tone. He knew that some passengers preferred silence, so he turned on some calming music, hoping it would help.
However, Karen’s furrowed brow and clenched jaw suggested that she was far from relaxed.
No matter how hard he tried to remain calm, she could sense his fear. Sweat was forming on his forehead, and it wasn’t because of the heat of the afternoon sun. The tension was palpable.
The Unseen Threat
As they inched closer to the mysterious destination, Eric’s mind raced.
Who was this woman, and what did she mean by being “punished for their sins”?
The words hung in the air like an ominous cloud, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was a pawn in some dangerous game. At this point he wished he hadn’t accepted the ride.
Karen’s demeanor shifted suddenly. She began to mutter to herself again, but this time her words were clearer, filled with desperation and despair.
“I can’t do it. I can’t go through with it,” she whispered, her voice trembling.
Eric’s anxiety escalated as he realized that the elderly lady was on the verge of a breakdown. He had no training to deal with such situations, and he felt utterly helpless.
Fear Gripping Him
Eric wasn’t paid enough to have to deal with a situation like this. He was never good at asserting himself and confronting others.
If the woman was going to do something, then he would be helpless.
But he had no idea how things were going to escalate. She kept clutching her bag close, a little too close. She was hiding something inside.
The old lady wouldn’t stop clutching her bag. It was making Eric beyond nervous.
She seemed confused and afraid. Was she going to do something regrettable? He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Uber driver had no idea that things would escalate in a heartbeat. He would be in a fight or flight situation in just a matter of minutes.
A Strange Destination
Eric tried to get his paranoia out of his mind. He distracted himself by looking forward at the stormy road ahead.
He wanted to just get the trip over with and be done with the strange woman.
But then he made the mistake of looking a bit closer at the address he was taking the woman to. It made his blood run cold.
An Unfamiliar Neighborhood
Her destination was an unfamiliar neighborhood. He stared at the route and saw that he would have to take some backroads where the GPS would be spotty. It was the perfect place to rob someone.
He felt his anxiety rising again. What was this woman doing going to such a strange place?
Was she okay? Or was he the one that had to worry about his own safety?
Just as Eric had predicted, the closer he got to the destination, the less reliable his GPS became.
He stopped updating where he was. Now, he had to guess how close he was to the destination.
This would normally make him nervous on a good day, but the old woman was making things worse. She had more to say.
She was muttering things under her breath that didn’t make sense. He heard words like “can’t go back” and “no escape.”
He felt like the crazy woman was about to hurt him or herself.
It was a miserable car ride, but he was getting closer to dropping her off. He just wondered what was awaiting him there when they arrived.
Giving Him The Creeps
Eric began to wonder what exactly Karen was talking about. It seemed like she was possibly psyching herself up to do something.
He looked through the rearview mirror and could see how she was muttering to herself.
It gave him the creeps and he wished she would just give him the final destination.
Stop Bothering Me!
But the more he asked, the more the woman gave him an annoyed look.
“Stop bothering me! Just continue driving. I don’t want to hear your voice again!” she replied from the back.
By now, Eric was getting very concerned. He didn’t know what he was going to do about Karen who was refusing to say anything about where she was going.
It was getting late and what was supposed to be a few minutes drive was turning into something much longer and very scary.
He was trying to be as professional as possible but if push came to shove and things took a turn for the worse, he had no problem evicting a passenger from his car.
He thanked his lucky stars for the camera he had placed inside.
A Bad Trip
As the minutes ticked by, Eric sensed that something was amiss.
Karen’s gaze was fixated on her bag, and she muttered to herself incoherently. He couldn’t understand what she was saying.
Eric strained his ears, trying to understand what she was saying, but it was like trying to decipher a foreign language. Was it a foreign language?
Eric’s mind started to assume the worst. He realized that he knew nothing about his passengers and could be in the middle of something illegal. “Ma’am, is everything okay?” he asked cautiously.
Karen’s head snapped in his direction, her eyes blazing with anger.
“You don’t need to know anything about me! Just drive!” she screamed at him.
Customer Is Always Right
Eric’s heart began to race. He’d dealt with difficult passengers before, but there was something unsettling about Karen’s behavior. She kept muttering under her breath.
She seemed to be teetering on the edge of a breakdown, and he couldn’t ignore the sinking feeling in his gut.
He was stuck driving a very angry woman to her destination.
He wished he could just stop and kick her out but for now, he had no reason to.
Maybe she just needed time. But what if he was wrong and this woman was trying to rob him.
He heard about stories from his fellow Uber driver friends that sometimes criminals use women as bait to then later mug the driver. Was this the case?
By the way the woman was behaving, he was within his right to think that. She was very secretive and was looking out around her almost like she was waiting for some kind of signal.
If Eric was right, he was in the big trouble.
But luckily for him, he had that camera which was hidden from view. It was especially for when passengers started acting up.
Something Was Very Wrong
The tension was thick in the air and Eric sensed that something was going to happen.
He just couldn’t pinpoint what it would be but the woman in the car just made him feel so uncomfortable.
He just wanted to go home now. It had been a long tiring day on the roads and when he picked up this last ride for the day, he didn’t think it would be such a nightmare.
Dealing With The Situation
Not all passengers are perfect but when they were like this, he was left with having to deal with the situation.
He understood that the woman wanted to be left alone, but his job was to pick people up and drop them off.
He was not in the business of driving around endlessly to no destination.
Why him? Why now? He thought to himself. The ride had just ruined his day and knew he would be thinking about it for weeks to come.
Meanwhile, the woman was just staring out of the window at everything and nothing in particular.
Eric was going to report her as soon as he was able to get her out of his car.
Despite his growing unease, Eric continued to navigate the bustling city streets. “So where are you heading ma’am?” he asked quietly.
He tried to make small talk, sharing anecdotes about the town, hoping it might distract her from whatever demons were tormenting her.
But each attempt was met with a stony silence, and the tension in the car thickened.
Then, Karen’s erratic behavior took a more troubling turn. She started fumbling in her bag, her hands shaking as she rummaged through its contents. Panic welled up inside Eric as he glimpsed the glint of metal.
“Ma’am, what are you doing? please, put that down!” he pleaded, his voice trembling.
But Karen ignored him, her expression twisted with rage. “I’m going to report you! You’re in big trouble!”
Name And Shame
Eric’s knuckles whitened as he gripped the steering wheel. He couldn’t afford to take any chances.
Swallowing hard, he pulled the car over to the side of the road, his heart pounding in his chest.
“Ma’am, I need you to get out of the car right now,” he demanded, his voice firm but trembling. Karen’s face contorted with fury. “You can’t do this! I’ll have your job!”
Fighting Back At Her
Finally, they pulled up in front of a dimly lit building, and the woman made no move to get out of the car.
Instead, she turned to Eric with a sinister grin. “Thank you for the ride, Eric. You’ve been a good listener.”
Eric’s heart was pounding in his chest. He was scared to turn around just in case the lady had a gun. He wanted to run away, but he couldn’t leave his vehicle there.
What Is It
Before he could react, she reached into her bag and pulled out a small vial. Eric tried to figure out what it was. A weapon? Pepper spray?
Eric’s heart raced as he realized it was filled with a clear, odorless liquid.
Panic set in as he realized her intentions. He reached for the door handle, he wanted to get out.
Making A Decision
With a determined resolve, Eric turned to face her. “I can’t risk my safety or yours, ma’am. Please, exit the vehicle.” He opened the door from the front.
Karen hesitated for a moment; her eyes locked with Eric’s.
It was a tense standoff, and in that moment, Eric’s mind raced with all the possible outcomes of this encounter.
A Tough Choice
Finally, with a huff of frustration, Karen relented and exited the door. She stepped out of the car and slammed the door shut; her anger palpable.
“I am going to report you to the Uber head office,” she yelled after him.
Eric watched her in his rearview mirror as she stormed away, disappearing into the bustling cityscape.
As Eric drove away, he couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that had settled over him.
He knew he had made the right decision, but the encounter with Karen had left him shaken to the core.
It was a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of his job and the strange, mysterious people he encountered along the way. What was his workplace HR team going to say about it?
As he continued his night shift, Eric couldn’t help but wonder what had driven Karen to such a state of distress. He had to stop at Starbucks for an Americano coffee.
He hoped that she would find the help and support she needed, but one thing was for certain—
Eric Cartwright would never forget the night he picked up the enigmatic Karen Smith, a passenger who had brought an unexpected dose of suspense and uncertainty into his life as an Uber driver.
That night, Eric couldn’t sleep. He replayed the bizarre encounter with Karen Smith over and over in his mind, trying to make sense of it all. He wondered if he had done the right thing by insisting she leave the car. What if she was genuinely in need of help?
As the hours passed, his phone buzzed with notifications. It was his fellow Uber driver friends, curious about the strange passenger and eager to hear every detail of his unnerving encounter.
Eric found some solace in sharing the story with them, knowing they understood the risks and challenges of the job.
The next day, Eric received a call from Uber’s support team. They wanted to investigate the incident with Karen Smith. They assured him that his safety was their priority and that they would handle the matter accordingly.
Eric provided a detailed account of what had transpired during the ride, including Karen’s erratic behavior and the mysterious vial.
Days turned into weeks, and Eric’s life returned to its usual routine of picking up passengers and navigating the city’s streets. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched, as if someone had their eyes on him, waiting for an opportunity.
Months passed, and Eric eventually put the strange encounter with Karen Smith behind him, chalking it up to one of the many bizarre incidents he had experienced as an Uber driver.
However, he never received any follow-up information from Uber about the investigation into Karen’s actions or her identity.
The unanswered questions continued to linger in his mind. Who was Karen Smith, and what had driven her to act so erratically that day? Was there more to the story than he knew? Eric couldn’t help but feel that he had been drawn into something far more sinister than he could ever have imagined.
A Mysterious Message
One evening, as Eric was parked waiting for a ride request, he received an unexpected message on his Uber app.
It was from an anonymous sender, and the message was short and cryptic: “You may have escaped that night, but you can never escape the truth.”
Eric’s heart raced as he read the message. It felt like a chilling warning, a reminder that the strange encounter with Karen Smith might not be over. He tried to trace the sender, but it was a dead end.
The Unfinished Mystery
Years passed, and Eric continued to drive for Uber, but he never received any closure on the Karen Smith incident.
It remained an unfinished mystery, a dark chapter in his life that haunted him.
Despite the unsettling message he had received, Eric chose to focus on his work and the countless other passengers he encountered. He hoped that someday the truth about Karen and her intentions would come to light, but for now, it remained an enigma—a strange and disturbing ride that he would never forget.
It had been many years since Eric thought about the incident with the old woman.
He had retired as an Uber driver and now owned his own small business. But he had no idea what was coming his way.
Eric now had a beautiful wife and child and would do anything to protect them. But he was about to get a mysterious phone call.
An Unfamiliar Number
He answered the unfamiliar phone number with a, “Hello, this is Eric Cartwright. What can I do for you?” But there was no answer. Only silence for a few seconds. Then, finally, he heard a woman on the other side of the receiver.
“Hello, yes, I think you can help me. My name is Susan, and I’ve been meaning to contact you for years,” The woman said.
What was going on?
A Reminder Of The Past
Eric felt a bit uneasy, but he stayed on the line in case it was something important. “Well, what can I do for you?” He asked.
The woman then said something that reminded him of the past.
“Well, it’s just that I know you probably don’t remember, but a woman once drove with you when you worked for Uber. I’m sure you had thousands of trips and have forgotten, but her name was Karen Smith.”
Just the mention of the name sent anxiety through his system.
Then he remembered the woman. How could he have forgotten her? He told Susan that he remembered her, but what did that have to do with him now?
It was as if there was some unresolved PTSD from the event. He felt his hands start to sweat. What was the woman going to say?
“Well, I’m her daughter, Susan Smith. Towards the end of her life, she would act very strange. She told me about you, and I always felt back. But I didn’t have the courage to do anything at the time.”
She continued, “I’d like to do something now that I didn’t before.”
What was she going to do? Eric gasped.
“I want to make amends. She recently passed away, and I wanted to make sure there was no unfinished business. You see, she had dementia and would often get confused and say odd things.”
“She told me what she had told you in the Uber. It sounded like she gave you a bit of a scare. I want you to know that it wasn’t personal.” She finished explaining.
Eric breathed a sigh of relief. He gave Susan his condolences and told her that he was happy that things were finally resolved.
But there was still one question on his mind. What was in the Vial?
He asked Susan what she could have possibly held in the clear vial. Susan’s voice took a strange turn at the mention of it.
Reason Behind Everything
“Let me first explain the reason behind everything,” Susan said.
“Karen only took that Uber with you that day to get to a place not many people visit. It must have looked a bit ominous from your perspective.”
She continued, “She needed some medicine to help her. But she didn’t like normal pharmaceuticals. She was getting home remedies from a seller on the strange side of town.”
After an awkward silence, Susan finally said, “Oh that! That was some of the homeopathic medicine that she used. I don’t know if it ever worked, but she lived a long and happy life, so it doesn’t matter.”
Karen was never a threat to Eric, and he was relieved to know that.
Now, he could live the rest of his life without any fear.