I thanked my driver for finding me. Uber has started doing this thing where they have removed part of the description of the car, so I will have to be on my toes.
I asked my driver how he was doing. He said he was a little stressed out. He wondered how long it was between the time I requested the ride and he arrived, and I assured him it was only 8 minutes. I told him that it worked in my favor that it was a Monday morning, lots of drivers available Mondays. Other times I may have to wait up to 30 minutes.
My driver said he was on his 4th car rental because of mechanical issues, and the rental was killing him – $320/week. I told him I was familiar because my ex drives. My driver and I started talking about the possibility of buying a car. My driver admitted that his credit score was right around 520. My business side kicked in and I asked if he had certain things that affected the score. He kind of sputtered and I apologized for being nosey, but he said, “No, C, this car is my home. My passengers are my family. I need your help.” So we talked about the negatives.
My driver also said that he had gotten in touch with a law firm that promises to fix credit, and he asked me how I felt about it. I told him that they would do exactly what he could do. He could take care of it himself and not pay them. [Unfortunately, I think he is intimidated and will probably still use them.] I suggested two websites that will allow him to monitor his credit scores for free from all three bureaus so he can keep an eye on everything.
My driver asked if I co-signed for anyone. I explained to him that I have had many boyfriends who have tried to ruin me financially, including my credit. Now that I am pretty poor, the only thing I have going in my favor is my good credit, because when I have to move apartments or apply for credit to get dental work, I can get reasonable terms. My driver said he needed to get a co-signer. I told him that if he can get this stuff worked out, he will see his score jump up within a few months. He also asked me to explain the concept of a simple personal unsecured loan, so I obliged.
My driver admitted he was not disciplined when it comes to tracking his daily spending, so he is usually getting hit with overdraft fees. That one is a little more tricky. I suggested he find a bank or credit union that would work with him and not allow spending over his available funds, or notify him if he gets down to a certain amount.
My driver said over and over that he was embarrassed, but also that he didn’t want to become so desperate that he would beg or steal. I tried to reassure him that he was on the right path. He was obviously in new territory and if you don’t get any exposure, it’s not like any of this stuff is instinctive. He said he hated credit cards and only paid with cash, but I told him in the future, never do business with payday loan businesses. That was the thing that totally screwed him over: predatory lending. My driver was their dream customer.