Exclusive: S’pore’s first Uber driver who helps passengers become famous
Have you read about the Uber driver who photographs his passengers and shares their stories on his Instagram account called “Ubergrapher”? (In case you’re curious, that’s how the name came about).
Meet Maverick, an IT engineering graduate in his 30s. He runs a mobile app business by day and turns into an Uber driver/photographer by night.
He published his first Instagram post a few months ago but has grown to become a mini influencer in the Uber community with 1,866 followers.
From picking up a 97-year-old granny who spoke to him throughout the journey to a 12-year-old who travelled home by himself at 2am after visiting the Sentosa haunted house, Maverick meets people from all spectrum of lives.
Here’s more about the man behind “Ubergrapher” who prefers to remain anonymous as “the focus is on the riders and not him”.
What kind of interesting people do you meet at night?
Maverick: So many. There was this one guy who booked me at 2am enroute to the airport. He was too early, his flight was at 10am. Because of insomnia, the man would rather arrive at the airport earlier and wait at McDonalds. It was amusing to me, he was heading to KL so he could have taken a coach and still arrived way earlier!
Once, there were two girls who invited me for a drink (photo below). But I didn’t go lah, I knew it was just the alcohol talking! I found it really hilarious!
(Two female passengers asked Maverick for his opinion about men and even invited him for a drink.)
Here’s another one: lovebirds. Couples can be very passionate, they would start doing things at the back seat as if I was transparent. (Me: A lot of vivid details, but let’s just say they can’t wait to go home!) But you have a car camera…?
M: I don’t have an in-car camera and don’t intend to install one.
Does inappropriate behaviour make you awkward?
M: I just wished the journey ends earlier lor. On the other hand, you can treat it as a free show (laughs).
Maverick’s Instagram snaps
Maverick started with landscape pictures, recently he turned to collecting portrait shots of his passengers for interest and flavour.
As an Uber driver who travels many times to the same places, he said it’s easy to run out of angles to shoot. People are becoming interesting subjects and it’s also a way for him to practice taking portrait shots.
You say 90% of people are willing subjects, why?
M: They’re trapped in my car, they’re a captive audience and I explain my Instagram hobby nicely (That and I guess being happy-go-lucky helps!)
Tell us more about the passengers who left the deepest impression on you.
(He told us a few stories, but the following really touched my heart)
(Filipino employee suffered from a brain tumour but was so fortunate to receive a six-figure sum from his employer who paid for his medical expenses.)
M: This passenger – he works at Botanic Garden restaurant. His boss paid for everything without telling anyone, including a six-figure sum for his medical expenses. The boss also let him stay at his place without rental.
You can’t imagine someone doing that to people they’re not close to right? But there are people like that, that’s why some of them get discovered and get mentioned in the papers.
Do passengers contact you after seeing their photos on your insta?
M: Whenever they contact me, it’s because they wished to be removed because they’re shown in a drunk state, which I respect and take down.
What’s your greatest satisfaction as an Ubergrapher?
M: First of all, I’m happy that the people appreciate the photographs that I’ve shown and I realized that people are interested in the stories of passengers – it seems like nobody else is doing it. So it’s a unique way to contribute to the community.
It also serves as photo memories to me – I’m quite happy that some photos were shot. I hope the passengers like them also, to the extent that maybe next time I can give them a souvenir print.
(Pointing to the photo on his camera)
(Passengers who are both civil servants – the female is a paramedic while the male is an ICA officer).
M: Once I told them who I am, they were very excited. They are civil servants. I didn’t expect civil servants to be so cheerful type, you know. Because this is the one who chops your passport so you cannot imagine he makes funny faces right? But this is called real human lor.
Any tips for aspiring Uber drivers who are interested to do what you do? M: Be safe, don’t take (photos) when your car is moving – obviously. Also, don’t be afraid to approach your passengers because you’ll be surprised that they’re so friendly. By talking to friendly people, it makes your driving even more pleasant.
Maverick has no immediate plans to grow his Instagram account but dreams of commuters submitting photos from around the world. He sees it as a “community of Uber-related photographs.”
If you do coincidentally happen to see a huge camera on the front seat..well, you could be sitting in Maverick’s car.
Don’t be shy to say “Hi” and… who knows? You might appear on Ubergrapher too!