Classroom to the streets: Strom works as Uber driver

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Photo by Lauren Puffer

Written by Lauren Puffer, Staff Writer/ Photographer

Corona math teacher Andy Strom was interested in making a little extra money last summer, so he became a driver for Uber, an app for smartphones used to connect a passenger with a driver in their area for quick and easy transportation.

Uber is a self-employed transportation service. It has roughly 5,000 employees and has been launched in hundreds of cities. Becoming a driver is a simple process which can be done as easily as clicking the “become a driver” button on its website.

Strom has yet to use the Uber app as a passenger, but he didn’t take that as a reason for not becoming a driver.  Just like the majority of people who now know about Uber, Strom discovered it by word of mouth.

“My wife told me about it and I thought that it would be a pretty easy part-time job,” Strom said.

“As I got to driving, I realized that you interact with people all the time, so that kind of makes it a fun job too,” Strom said.

Strom finds that the most convenient time to drive for Uber is on the weekends and during vacations.

Strom has also driven students.

“Last year I picked up a student that was in my class at the time,” Strom said. “It was St. Patrick’s Day and I had gone home and decided to drive right away. He ended up needing a ride.”

One could only assume that this may have been even the slightest bit awkward, but Strom didn’t think so.

“It wasn’t awkward because he was in my class, I was just giving him a hard time,” Strom said. “But it was probably awkward for him.”

That student knew that Strom was an Uber driver.

“Anyone who doesn’t already know that I’m and Uber driver would be a little surprised,” Strom said.

Though that student graduated last year, Strom also drove a student of his that is going to Corona currently.

“I had another student who was also in my class and I took him to his house in Ahwatukee after football practice during fall break. He said his parents were in France,” Strom said.

Along with being an Uber driver, Strom has met some very interesting people.

“One guy told me that he had gotten shot in his back by his mother as a child and claimed that he had post-traumatic stress disorder,” Strom said.

Strom also has some funny and often unfortunate stories about a few of his under-the-influence passengers.

“I almost had a guy throw up in my car one night,” Strom said. “Fortunately, it didn’t happen because he fell asleep.”