Why Is Getting Your Shit Back From Uber A Soap Opera: Let’s Talk How & Why This Happens

Photo via the Transit Center of AmericaPhoto via the Transit Center of America

Photo via the Transit Center of America

We’ve all gotten way drunker than we wanted too, called an Uber, and unfortunately have left items in said Uber. What do you do?

I, who use ride sharing apps frequently, haven’t ever been privy to the idea of losing my personal items in someone’s vehicle. I triple check my surroundings before getting out, get up slowly to avoid items falling out anywhere, and I’ll calmly shut the door to make sure I really didn’t forget anything.

Well after a drunken night at 20 Spot in the Mission, I fell to the upsetting headache as known as “items lost claims.” Of course, there isn’t a set guide about how to deal with losing anything personal, online. Whether it’s a phone, a precious family heirloom, and sometimes even groceries—we’re told to kind of ‘just give it up.’ Lost forever, bystanders would say. Luckily, or unluckily rather, my most recent Uber trip alerted me to a missing item in their car.

Huzzah, a precious item of mine has been retrieved. But don’t worry, the headache ensues.

When coming in contact with the plague, as known as Uber customer support, you’re immediately greeted with a automated message like this:

Sorry to hear about this, Bob Cut editor. No worries, we did try to follow up with your driver once more. We’ll let you know once we get a hold of him until tomorrow. We’ll make sure that we are doing everything just to get a hold of your driver and have your item returned. You may reach him again at this number: xxxxxxxxxx. Partner drivers often work on odd hours, so it’s possible that your driver is sleeping or on a trip with other riders. The fastest way for you to retrieve the item will be to coordinate with the driver directly if possible. Really appreciate your patience here. Hopefully you could get your item back as soon as possible. If there’s anything else we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

TLDR: That sucks, hope this helps or whatever.

So one (me) proceeds to be courteous, kind, and respond in full sentences. Of course, I am at fault for consuming way too much alcohol, but that comes with the territory of the ride-hailing job? Right? 

I immediately contact the driver (who was very friendly to me during our ride), I ask, “Thank you so much for reporting my missing item. Let me know what works for you and I can meet you to retrieve it.”


To their response (verbatim), “Hi, yeah, lets meet in two day, I live in sacramento.” I completely understand because Sac is a hell of a ride away. “For sure,” I respond immediately, “let’s aim for Tuesday, we can meet anywhere you can get too.”

I don’t hear a word for roughly 36 hours. Like they had dropped off the face of the planet. Within those 21 hours, my mind started panicking. They’ve probably sold it off into a pawn shop, they’re gonna scam me back for it, they’ll extort me for it because they know I want it. I get a reply back and it says, “can’t make it to you today, thusday?”

GREAT. Thursday, how convenient. Mind you, this is also Sunday. “I’ll be at my office from 9 till 5.” To his late response, “tuesday bro.”

Then it hits me. They clearly can’t grasp the written (text) word well. But you’ve got to stick with your period and Oxford comma guns. “Great, Tuesday works for me. Here is the address of the office: xxxxxxxxxxx. Let me know when you arrive and I’ll race out to meet you.”


Then this pain in the rear happens. I would have understood that there could have been an emergency or something to that effect of, “I don’t think I can get out there today, when are you free next or…” a certain sort of way. Nope, just greeted with blame and an apparent “raising of my tone.”

Through out our entire conversation, I say please and thank you. I ask to accommodate his needs because the circumstances of a long commute are incredibly draining and hectic.

“Will talk sometimes tomorrow” … Fabulous.

I don’t want to put my foot down, I am fully aware that it is my fault for not being fully coherent during our ride but to reiterate: He was nice to me the entire ride through.

That’s when step b. happens: I just forward Uber all of the text logs.

I don’t have time to fight someone but I would also like my stuff back. The blurred line between customer service and awkward three-ways are far in few and closely to none. Meaning: there isn’t a protocol that’s super full-proof when managing this kind of dance. And that’s frightening for a company that made $3 billion in 2016. *Which isn’t impressive, might I add.*

After going hard and being extra in the Uber support chat, a response from what I assume is a human appears:

Thanks for writing back, Bob Cut editor. We’re sorry to hear that you haven’t been able to get the lost item back yet. No worries, we’ll jump in and try to get a hold of your driver as well. In situations, such as this, wherein both the driver and rider cannot arrange a return of the item, we’ve suggested to your driver to just drop off the item to our Greenlight Hub in San Francisco. We’ll get back to you once your driver has responded. Thanks for your patience on this matter. If there’s anything else we can help you with in the meantime, please let us know.

What is the Greenlight Hub? And why isn’t it a first option when reports of expensive valuables go missing?

The Greenlight Hub is essentially the one of multiple spots for Uber drivers to receive their inspections, training, and report cases with their vehicles. Of course, this isn’t middle school in the vain that there isn’t a ‘lost & found.’ But with reports of Uber horror stories (i.e drivers and riders being physically aggressive toward each other), why take a chance?

Then moving back into a scenario of internalized anger. I immediately re-ground and ask what would be better for them. I don’t want to step on toes but I just want my things back.

“They’ll do me a fever” he states, a fever… I’m getting sick of this conversation already. They will mail it to me from Sac which I’m totally OK with. No human contact or anything is exactly what I aim for. 

Of course, you can read the conversation here but I just have an ounce in me to respond with, “WHATEVER. Meet me here, that’s it.” But I have to be accommodating to the driver, it’s their time, money, and resources spent on my forgetful watch.


Do I sound in the wrong for wanting to cooperate to the max? I don’t mean to make this sound like a “why me scenario” but the fact that Uber’s customer support is so relaxed and ablasé is unnerving, no? 

At the end of the day, you’ve got to be nice and make sure you’re working with the driver to get your things back. But the moment your driver scolds you for misplacing something accidentally and basically shuts you down, that’s when you got to call bullshit.

This isn’t “first-world problem, why me moment” but kindness only goes so far. At the end of it all, you’ve just got to be nice, write in full sentences, and hope for the best.

Why Is Getting Your Shit Back From Uber A Soap Opera: Let’s Talk How & Why This Happens
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