I saw this sticker on an Uber yesterday. What a confusing message. We can probably guess that it means do not fart in this car. But the poor translation leaves us with another possible reading: there is no fart in the car. With that meaning, we can assume the driver thinks of farts like ghosts or entities that inhabit vehicles. And, through his assurance, we can feel safe in knowing there are no farts living in his car. He checked.
But beyond the convoluted messaging, the sticker prompts an important question: should passengers be allowed to fart in Ubers?
The answer is an unequivocal yes.
In New York, as with other cities, Uber passengers eschew taxis in favor of the ride-sharing service. I personally prefer Ubers because they feel more personal. Often when you hop in a taxi, the seat is still warm from a passenger that exited only moments before. It’s a reminder that you’re riding around in a space that gets shared by dozens of people each day. While that’s still true of Ubers, you tend to forget this truth due to the company’s personal touches, starting with how the driver confirms your name when you get in. It all serves to create a sense that this car—this is your chariot. By all means, control the music. Go ahead, charge your phone. And without a doubt, push that bubbling fart into the atmosphere.
In keeping with elevated society of the Uber, one must adhere to a suggested decorum. A few guidelines:
- One should open one’s window. Like turning on the overhead stove vent before placing a steak in a hot pan, this will allow the fart to be whisked out of the car, limiting its ability to set in. If you fart and then open the window, the wind can actually spread the fart around like a sailboat without a tiller.
- Apologize to the driver. Some people will say this is going above and beyond, but that’s only because they don’t want to draw more attention to the elephant shit in the room. By opening your window, you’ve indirectly acknowledged the fart already; the cat is out of the bag. Trust me, you’re not the first person to fart in this guy’s face. They’re professionals. Like doctors, they’re not going to make you feel ashamed for the evil your body has produced. Let the driver know that you appreciate his unflinching stoicism in breathing in your polluted air.
- Don’t take advantage of the driver’s amenability. He’s not your submissive little plaything. Get the beast out of your system in its entirety—don’t hold back. But once the air has cleared, you must suppress the followups. This is no place for an encore.
- Your tip should reflect the severity of the fart. Don’t whiff and stiff. If it comes out hot, you’re looking at 20% minimum. A good rule of thumb is the longer it sticks around, the higher percentage you should tip. Remember, you’ve just ruined this guy’s morning. The least you can do is help put something toward his kid’s college fund.
I am yet to meet an Uber driver who has called me out or shamed me for farting. But perhaps that’s because I am a religious follower of my own rules. Start playing your part today.