Now Employees, Lyft Drivers Must Participate in Secret Santa, Sign Get Well Card for Cheryl

By Nick Casio

SAN RAFAEL, CA — Lyft drivers honked with enthusiasm after a recent court ruling declared that they are employees of the company rather than contract workers, but drivers are now learning that this new status comes with more responsibility. 

Sydney Taft of San Rafael has been driving with Lyft for two years. “Don’t get me wrong, I love being an employee now, Don J. brings homemade muffins on Mondays. But it’s more work than I expected.” Taft explained that she has 4,453 unread messages in her inbox. “I used to spend my evenings driving customers. Now I’m slogging through emails every night, and don’t even get me started on the Slack channel.”

Taft isn’t the only driver who’s lost customer time since becoming an employee. “I saw on Glip that Cheryl in Accounting hurt her neck real bad doing AcroYoga,” recalled Danny Alvarez of Petaluma. “I mean, I don’t really know her that much, but I felt bad. So when I heard that they were passing around a get well card in the corporate office, I cancelled all my scheduled fares and drove into the city to sign the card. I hope she likes it, it has a dolphin on it.” 

Drivers have also had to adjust to a new company culture. “They sent out this email about Secret Santa, which I thought was a little premature since it’s only September,” said Joe Radowski of Sausalito. “I asked why so early, and let me tell you, the pushback was intense. I got yelled at in 28 different languages. Lyft is such an international company. Anyway, I learned fast that Lyft takes Secret Santa very, very seriously.”

A recent poll of Lyft drivers found that since becoming employees, they spend on average 40 percent of their shifts in project status meetings; 30 percent re-submitting expense reports; 20 percent speculating as to who left a mess in the microwave; and 10 percent actually driving customers. 

With fewer Lyft drivers actually driving, some Marin residents have had to find alternative means of transportation. “I had to go to my friend’s birthday party last Friday, and there were no Lyfts available. I didn’t know what to do, I was freaking out,” said Ava Donnelly, a student at Dominican University. “My dad told me about this thing called a ‘cab’ that he used to take back in the day. It was super old-school, I couldn’t even pay with my phone.”

Correction: Initial reporting stated that the get well card was for Paula in Marketing. Though she was ill, no one got her a card. According to several drivers, this was because Paula eats tuna fish sandwiches at her desk and chews with her mouth open.

Suzanne Carroll