Lawrence Schall is not your typical Uber driver, given that he's also president of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. But as Schall explains in the Washington Post, he got behind the wheel this summer to educate himself about the burgeoning sharing economy. One thing he's learned is that he'd better keep his day job: His biggest daily take so far has been $29. But another is about Uber passengers themselves. Schall expected to be ferrying students out on the town or business people avoiding the hassles of driving. Instead, most of his fares involving taking tired blue-collar workers to or from the local train station, people doing whatever they must to survive.
"Instead of getting a glimpse into the new economy, I was getting full exposure to the burdens of the old economy—specifically, how hard it is for regular working people to make it from their home or apartment to a job every day." Schall goes into detail about one passenger, a 30-year-old man learning to walk again after being paralyzed in a car accident. The $6 fare ate up about 30 minutes of Schall's time because the man needed help getting into the doctor's office. "If I hadn’t started this little experiment, my path would probably never have crossed the lives of any of these people whose life stories continuously surprise me," writes Schall. "After three weeks, my earnings are approaching $100, but I sure feel richer for the experience." Click for his full column.