Every time I purchase a new car, I always vow that, unlike my previous vehicles, I will keep this one sparkling clean. Forever.
I will hand buff its exterior with paste wax weekly, never mind the shoulder and rotator cuff pain I will experience midway through this arduous task. Its windshield and grill will quickly be wiped free of insect remains — creatures whose cause of death was simply an errant flight path. Mosquitos should really know better than to fly near rural highways with 75 mile per hour posted speed limits.
Internally I will fire up a Shop-Vac daily, sucking away shoe gravel before it embeds itself in my carpeted mats. The seats will be nourished with leather cleaner, and the console will be forever free of dust.
Finally, eating of any objects, even those deemed necessary for physical survival, will be forbidden. Passengers with diabetes, I’ll gladly pull over so you can step outside and consume a fruit juice or candy bar to avoid insulin shock. But not in my new car; that’s REAL leather you’re sitting on.
Those vows are typically broken after approximately two weeks, particularly the “no food in the car” decree. It begins innocently enough. A drive-thru beverage here, a granola bar there. It’s compact food that I convince myself will not affect my car’s cleanliness, provided I avoid potholes and sudden swerves.
But eventually hunger and lack of discipline win out, and I soon find myself cruising the expressway with a Big Mac and large fries between my legs. Beneath the seats, I’ll find a stray onion ring or hamburger wrapper and connect it with a Burger King visit that occurred months ago. My car inevitably smells like a McDonald’s five minutes before closing time, a noxious combination of vegetable oil, onions and Special Sauce. I will long for the return of that “new car smell” and vow that, when my lease expires in three years, the NEXT car will receive better treatment.
No wonder Lyft drivers are so upset.
According to some published reports, drivers who pick up passengers via the ride sharing service are up in arms over the company’s decision to partner with Taco Bell, that fast food franchise known to serve something resembling Mexican food. The venture, which is currently being tested and could be rolled out nationwide next year, pending positive reviews, gives passengers the option to add “Taco Mode,” to their ride request, meaning the trip includes a stop at the nearest Taco Bell. The service is active between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., not exactly the hours when passengers are most cognizant of proper table manners.
Drivers can opt out of picking up passengers in full Taco Mode but their freedom to choose still hasn’t stopped many from expressing displeasure via social media, as they are fearful their cars will eventually acquire that hard-to-get-out “chalupa smell.”
“Didn’t buy my Lincoln to get these entitled millennials their damn tacos,” wrote Sean on Twitter.
“How dare you invite people to eat in MY car without asking ME?” added Kim.
Note to the Lyft marketing team: Perhaps Taco Bell was not the best choice for this brainstorm, as tacos are among the most difficult fast food to consume while in motion, the exception being anything ice cream-related. A mountain of beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream resembles an active volcano, or one that has already started spewing lava, if one adds queso.
Start with something easier.
Might I suggest one of my favorite fast food franchises, Chick-Fil-A, and its incredibly easy-to-consume item, Grilled Nuggets? The lack of breading makes these tender morsels harmless if an inebriated passenger misses his or her mouth in the back seat and a nugget ends up on the upholstery. And, at just 140 calories for a six-count order, you’re encouraging healthy snacking. The same cannot be said of a Taco Bell Smothered Burrito.
Should this venture succeed, I see only one other way to appease Lyft drivers concerned about their vehicle’s appearance and cleanliness. Add another feature to the Lyft app, one that would kick in simultaneously with the Taco Bell experience: