I was in Phoenix and meeting up with a friend from Joe Polish’s 25k Group. After a few beers, we headed back to his house to continue our conversation with another friend.
Just a few blocks from his house, we were pulled over. After the preliminary “License and registration” check, the officer asked my friend to shut off his car and get out. This made us a little concerned. I’m not sure how things are done in Phoenix but this didn’t seem routine.
It turns out my friend he’d been previously pulled over for speeding and somehow the insurance for his new vehicle hadn’t been processed correctly. He’d received a ticket for speeding and since he hadn’t been able to prove he had insurance, was given a certain number of days to show proof.
He’d called his agent to get everything squared away but it turns out his agent had dropped that ball as well and hadn’t submitted the proper paperwork. My new friend had unknowingly been driving on a suspended license.
Luckily, he was able to avoid getting arrested by showing on his phone that he’d submitted the proper paperwork. But the officer wouldn’t let him drive the few blocks remaining to his house. In fact, Officer Friendly informed us that we’d have to have someone there in ten minutes to move the car or they were going to have to have it towed.
I wasn’t sure that I could drive the car after several beers and certainly didn’t want to risk being then immediately pulled over by the same officer and given a breathalyzer to check. We asked if the officer would be willing to drive it the few blocks but he said it was outside the rules.
Here we were stuck in a bureaucratic loop of buzz kill. Isn’t the officer’s creed to serve and protect? Where’s the service part of that? Maybe they just pull kittens out of trees and call it a day?
Regardless, after a few phone call my friend was unable to find someone who could rush right over and help and that’s when I thought, “I bet we can get Uber to do it!”
For those who are still stuck in the taxis of yesteryear, Uber is an app that allows you to, “Connect with a driver at the tap of a button.” It’s saved me many a rainy/snowy walk, in many a city, to hail a cab. Even more important to this present situation, once you’ve ordered a car, you can contact the driver directly.
So I ordered a car and phoned the driver and explained the situation, asking if he would be willing to drive the car a few blocks and park it for us. He responded that he could do that for us, no problem.
Arriving within a few short minutes, he showed our friendly officer his valid Arizona identification, jumped in the car and took us down the street to my friend’s house. After parking the car, he walked back to his vehicle and our superhero for the night took off to save other dudes in distress.
It’s mind blowing that we had discovered an on demand solution to our problem. Most of the time when you’re looking for something on demand, it’s super high-end and expensive. But with a decentralized network, you can find solutions on demand at a reasonable price.
Technology is swiftly moving towards solving problems that would otherwise be very difficult to resolve. And that’s a lesson that any of us working in the service industry should take care to note.