I was exhausted when I ordered my Uber at 1:40am while finishing up a 6-hour shift at work. It was my first night out of the house after being sick with the flu and I had been holed up lonely as fuck in my apartment for the past week surrounded by glasses of ginger ale and baked potatoes on some randomly specific Jewish sick stomach solution someone suggested I try.
Ready for bed after a long night, I popped a non-addictive anti-anxiety pill that makes you drowsy and waited 3 minutes for my Uber drive Clayton. An old silver Cadillac Deville pulled up and I got in with slight hesitation because he looked like a pimp, and I’m not being racist- he just had a pimp energy.
He immediately began questioning me about my life and I enjoyed that because I’m self-obsessed. On some Psychic shit, he sensed that I’ve been depressed, which had me practically on the verge of tears during our rapidly growing emotional and intimate conversation. I felt safe opening up to him and he genuinely wanted to hear everything I had to say. It was an objective opinion outside of anyone who knew me and I appreciated his intellectual insights. I can’t tell if he was building me up so I would stay in the car, or if he really meant his words, but by the time we pulled up to my house it was apparent that the conversation was not ready to be over.
A new ride popped up on his phone.
“Oh now I have to get Robert,” he sighed.
“Fuck Robert,” I responded, making him laugh.
“You wanna take a ride and continue talking?” He offered.
It was late, I was exhausted, but something inside of me wanted to stay. I craved his East Coast Style ‘give-it-to-you-straight’ life advice and wanted to take an adventure. I had been cooped up sick inside my apartment alone all week googling ‘reasons not to die’ followed by ‘how to be a stronger woman’ followed by ‘best eye cream 2015.’ I needed something to spark excitement and fear inside of me. I got into the front seat and we drove to pick up Robert.
We continued talking about my issues, even though I already did that with my therapist earlier that day. He quoted the Bible in ways I’ve only heard in Quentin Tarantino movies. He told me how he once picked up a girl from the Playboy Mansion to bring to a famous short actor’s house in Beverly Hills who’s the face of Scientology for some Risky Business. By day he was an interior designer from Baltimore who’s been in business for 28 years and has only been in love once.
He looked me in the eyes at stoplights as shadows hit his face and told me my past does not define me. He told me that I was a highly intelligent person who is allergic to stupid shit, which in turn leaves me depressed when I try to comprehend why stupid shit happens. He told me to stop being so hard on myself and that I’m not the person I negatively tell myself I am. I was eating it all up and just wanted to hear more words or wisdom and he continued to do so between passenger pickups.
I had fun messing around with the passengers. When we pulled up and they saw me in the front seat, I told them we were filming a hidden camera show. No one believed me. We picked up mainly gay guys in West Hollywood who had been out partying. One engaged couple that was significantly different in age by 20 years was completely trashed and going to Mexico in the morning. Another guy was high on coke and said he left the party he was at because his asshole wasn’t clean enough to hook up. Another group we picked up at IHop were mean drunks and thought they were actors, but we knew they weren’t- they were just hipster Filipinos in an acting class. We drove around West Hollywood to Korea Town to West Hollywood to Downtown LA.
At one point Clayton and I both agreed we had to pee, so he pulled over on the side of the road under a dark bridge and handed me some baby wipes. “Let’s pee outside,” he suggested excitedly getting out and standing behind the car. He let out a loud sigh of relief as he peed which most older men do, and then I noticed he opened up the trunk, for a crowbar to murder me with I presumed and stayed in the car. “I’m ok,” I said preserving my life.
Up until this point you would think I wasn’t kidnapped and willfully went in the Uber, which is true. However, the night took a turn of events when HE WOULDN’T LET ME LEAVE.
I told him I wanted to go home but he told me to stay. He stopped at a hotel for me to pee to ease my comfort level and make me feel taken care of. I thought about running out a back entrance of the hotel, but it was so late, I just wanted a ride home from the driver who promised it.
At this point it was 4am and I was over it all. I was out of energy, the compliments and life advice died down and I was ready for bed. The conversations had peaked and I had nothing left in me. We were very close to my apartment and I asked him to take me home. A little bummed, he agreed and said he was done driving. But then not a moment later, he sneakily accepted another passengers request.
“What the fuck? I want to go home.” I was pissed.
“I don’t want to let you leave!” He cried, driving to pick up the passenger.
(editors note: KIDNAPPED)
“I’m going to just get out and call another Uber, I’m over it.” I replied, feeling guilty for hurting his feelings but putting my foot down. Just a few days earlier I was on my couch reading a self help book about paying attention to your needs before worrying about others and I felt adamant in applying what I had learned. Ok, I barely got past the introduction but I knew what the whole book basically was saying by reading the title.
He picked up the pace. “No!’ He cried out laughing, “I just enjoy your company too much! This is the last passenger I promise.” I didn’t believe him. I felt uneasy and anxious. Each time we drove a further distance I felt closer to trouble wondering what the fuck I was doing.
We picked up some dumb bitch that came out of her house with a suitcase that set me into some serious apprehension. Suitcases only mean one thing.
“Where are you going?” I immediately asked her from the passenger seat when I got in.
“Is this Uber pool?” The dumb bitch asked.
“Yes…” I lied. Clayton asked me to say it was Uber Pool and to not tell this particular passenger that I was on a Ride Along aka KIDNAPPED TO THE AIRPORT AGAINST MY WILL.
“I’m going to the airport,” dumb bitch replied, “I have a flight that leaves in an hour. We have to go NOW.”
“I’m not going, take me home now,” I told Clayton. My tone said I’m not fucking around, but neither was Clayton because he kept driving.
“I got to take her to the airport. Please come with me!” He cried out.
I didn’t fucking want to. He picked up on that. “I’ll pay you. How much do you want?” He asked.
“Give me $20.” Now I’m a PAID KIDNAPEE.
He agreed to the payment. He went back to complimenting and building me up, telling the dumb bitch in the back that I was an amazing person to fill me up with reason to wanting to stay. The whole thing felt very Stockholm Syndrome with a dash of codependency.
Towards the end of the ride I really just thought about opening the door and jumping out. I grew afraid that I was never going to be able to leave. He was driving at 105mph and I didn’t think I could jump out safely although I watched the road wondering what it would be like to hit the pavement at that speed.
On the ride to the airport I began reaching out to my friends to tell them what was going on. They were worried. One offered to pick me up at the airport if I jumped out, but I stayed on the ride. As promised, Clayton took me home after the airport, making my arrival time 5am. He never paid me $20. We exchanged numbers but I will never call him again.
I woke up the next morning off 6 hours of sleep and felt like shit. I felt like I ate McDonalds or had spent the night doing cocaine – both are similarly awful feelings. But despite how tired I felt and wanted to fall back asleep, I was able to wake up and have a productive day because somehow Clayton got into my head and I felt that much more better and hopeful about my life.
SIDE NOTE: I had been joking about wanting to be kidnapped for years and my friend said I manifested it. I may be kind of exaggerating when I say I was being kidnapped, although he legit would not let me out at the end until he was ready to.