Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Sunday Night. 8pm.
36 degrees Celcius. Humid as Hell on bad hair day.
I get a ping to a Hotel on Winston Churchill Boulevard @ QEW Highway.
Pax Name: "Amber."
I arrive at Hotel, main lobby round-about, which looks completely vacant and sad, and click the pink "ARRIVE" button on the LYFT App.
Nobody. *Cricket Noises*
I wait ~4 minutes, and am about to call (which is a requirement for LYFT).
From around the side of the hotel, comes three passengers.
A dude in his late 50s. A woman in her late 20s. A woman in her early 40s.
Visually, they are an unlikely trio.
The dude is in Khaki Shorts & A Button Down Polo. The Young Woman is dressed to the nines with sparkling earrings and a blue dress. The Middle Aged woman is in what could best be described as a 'Moo Moo.'
As the youngest woman walks up with a smile, she almost sings, "For Amber?"
I say. "Yes. But you will need face coverings if you want to ride."
She indicates verbally that they all have them, but only two of them are holding them.
I tell her that my back seat is very small, but if you are cool with keeping the windows down (its 35C out there and humid) then the front seat will be fine.
I also see she has a can of Smirnoff Ice in her hand.
I tell Amber, "Sorry, you will have to finish the traveller you are carrying."
She hands the can of booze to other woman, who starts drinking it.
As I manually re-adust the seat (normally it sits all the way up and forward, so nobody is tempted to use it), the khaki guy, masked and ready to go, climbs in the back, and says, "Hi."
Amber starts to climb into the front seet, also with a face mask.
I say, "You guys are headed to Snug Harbour in Port Credit?"
He is in the process of saying, "Yes" as the woman comes around the side of the car, carrying a blue shopping bag, most definitely not a purse.
I didn't see what she did with the can of Smirnoff Spritzer.
(I foolishly assume she did what 99% of PAX with travellers do: "Down it and leave the empty on the curb.")
And I am distracted by the fact that She still has no face covering.
I ask if she has a face covering.
She says, "I'll put it on when I'm in the car."
I say, "It's my preference that you put it on prior."
She huffs a bit and produces a face mask.
And sits down in the back seat, while putting it on. The blue bag in her lap.
From my angle I see there is more booze in her 'blue bag' and hear the sound of cans clanging in her bag.
I tell her, "It's not legal to have alcohol in the back seat. I will open the trunk and put the bag of booze there."
Her body indicates that she desires to keep it, and she clings to it a bit, but finally relinquishes it to me when the guy says, yea, there is booze, we're headed to the beach.
As I pop the trunk, I notice the blue bag is leaking, what I think is water.
*It is not.*
Smirnoff Ice liquid is dripping out of the bag and onto the mat of my trunk.
It doesn't take a me more than a moment, to key into the fact she 'hid' the open can in the blue bag along with the rest of their alcohol.
I glance at the curb where I thought she had set down the traveller. Nothing.
With the rear-drivers side door open, I show her the leaking blue bag.
I say, "I'm sorry everyone, this ride is over. Alcohol has leaked in my car. I need to clean it."
She says, "What? It's just water."
I set the bag down on the curb. You can smell the sickly sugary drink, it is tinged with orange flavour, even as the liquid is clear and making a puddle on the pavement.
"Perhaps you should take the bag back to your room, and request another ride when you are ready to go."
She gets out of the car.
I notice droplets and lines of Smirnoff that have been spilled on my seats and in the console cup holders.
*The open can must have fallen over, BEFORE, I took it. Grrrrrr.*
The dude guy turns to her, and says, "Well, that's embarassing. "
He turns to me and says, "Sorry. We will get another ride."
He gets out of the car, walks over to where I'm still standing by the blue bag, and hands me a $20 bill, apologizing "I'm really embarassed about this. Please take it."
I take the $20.
I ask Amber, who is now seated comfortably in the front of the car to leave.
She says, "What? Why?"
I say, "Well, your friend has spilled alcohol in the back seat of my car. I need to clean the car."
She clues in. She must have been on her phone all this time.
She exits the car.
The other woman starts flipping out hysterically -- in that special 'entitled but caught-guilty' kind of way. "One of the cans must have been leaking! We did nothing wrong!! Can we just start the ride??!!"
I've grabbed Lysol Wipes and am wiping up the tiny mess in my trunk, then proceed to start wiping down the leather and cup holders in the back seat.
I'm basically ignoring the three of them as they argue about the whole situation, curbside.
The parking lot is empty. It is still daylight. The hotel gives off the impression there are no other guests or employees anywhere nearby.
The guy comes around as I am finishing up (2-3 minutes of wiping everything down) and says, quietly, "Sorry to make a mess of the car. I own a car dealership, and I totally get wanting to keep the car clean."
He hands me another $40.
I say, "Thanks, man, for being understanding in an awkward situation. Seriously. Thanks."
He returns to the other side of the car chide the other woman.
I finish the wipe-down, shut all the doors and put the Lysol wipes back in the trunk.
The car now has the smell of a cookie-factory that has just shut down for the night. Perhaps I can tell future passengers that is just the odour of my cleaning alcohol wipes. Maybe.
I cancel the ride and begin pull away from the lobby entrance, as the sound of another ping buzzes the phone, and the most unlikely trio are left to think about their life choices.
I did not take pictures or submit for a cleaning fee. I wanted the smell of booze out before my Sunday night was ruined. Thankfully there wasn't much and the open windows are doing their thing in the humid evening breeze.
$60 for 10 minutes, 1 Lysol wipe, and a lot of silly drama over half a can of a sugary $2 alcoholic beverage.
I am not sure if my faith in humanity was destroyed or elevated in this encounter.
It was just strange.