brandonstirpe | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Re: “Street Legal? Ride-share drivers settling in to a changing market

Mr. Larry Ionescu (if this is indeed you, of course) threw out the bait and as much as I know I shouldn't, I'm biting. I do ask that you take the time to read this from beginning to end; I know it's a lot but I took the time to read your post.

For those of you who don't know him, he's one of the men who who contributed to the recent Chicago taxi buzz when a taxi driver hit a pedestrian and fled the scene (you can make your own conclusions, though--video's below).

You were quoted as saying, "Drivers are assaulted every other week and I have countless recordings of hit-and-runs," and that, ""He (the driver) basically could've been assaulted right there. He had no idea he was basically being followed."

(link here

With all that being said and with the aforementioned article being referenced, I'm going to go ahead and assume you are unbiased in this debate.

So let's move on.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brandon Stirpe (the Lyft driver featured in the article above). I am, in fact, a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh like you mentioned above; however, the rest of the information you have provided about me is indeed, false. Let's start from the beginning...

"So driving a gypsy cab..."

This word 'gypsy'. I don't think it means what you think it means. We're going to go ahead and break it down together. According to Webster himself, the term 'gypsy' refers to "a member of a traveling people with dark skin and hair who speak Romany and traditionally live by seasonal work, itinerant trade, and fortune-telling. Gypsies are now found mostly in Europe, parts of North Africa, and North America, but are believed to have originated in South Asia."

While I'd like to be able to tell fortunes, I don't think this definition fits the bill. Also, in a world of political correctness, I'm going to safely assume you aren't labeling us all as having "dark skin and hair who speak Romany," because that would be rude. You will argue that I am involved in an, "itinerant trade" (which is defined as, "working for a short time in various places, a casual worker"). Yes, I do indeed hold a casual, part-time position. But like many other Americans who have a 'trade', I receive a 1099--unfortunately, I'm a gypsy with an address so the tax man knows where to find me.

(This is neither here nor there but the second definition for 'gypsy' is "a nomadic or free-spirited person"--I've actually been in Pittsburgh the past 7 years and don't really leave town too much--so to call me nomadic wouldn't quite fit the bill).

"...and have a Master Degree..."

I am going to assume you do not have a 'Master Degree' because if you did, I'm sure you would know when referring to such a degree generically, it would in fact be written as "master's degree". However, if you would have completely written out my degree, you would have been partially correct; "Degree" would have been omitted and you would need to write out the specific degree...Here, let me show you: "So driving a gypsy cab and having a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science and Technology with a focus in Rehabilitation Counseling" <-- this would have been more appropriate, sir (I should note I don't know much about you; maybe you have a degree just aren't familiar with current writing trends).

This is my favorite part...

" sounds like a lot of money wasted to end up driving in a illegal company..."

I am again going to assume you do not have a "Master Degree" because if you did, you would know no money has been wasted. Unfortunately, I am apart of a generation that is being squashed by school debt; so, I actually have not spent any money at all. If you must know, I am roughly $125,000 in debt. The interest on that debt? Accrues daily. Some fellow students have it worse, some better--it all sucks. I do not have a choice, sir. I need to work 60-75 hours a survive. Working for "a illegal company," allows me to maintain a full time job while earning some extra money on the side so, you know, I don't default on my loans. I encourage you to visit Lyft's--and Uber's for that matter--website to learn more about the legitimacy of these companies.

"...You should be ashamed of taking consumers for a ride without proper insurance..."

I should be ashamed? ASHAMED?! Of what, sir? Rereading the article shows there is no mention of my insurance. If you did your research, and did not assume, there is available ride-sharing insurance. It's in between personal and commercial. So for you to put all ride-share drivers into one group isn't very polite. I suggest you do your research before formulating such a strong opinion on a topic.

"...If you think you had a tough life until now..."

When did I mention I had a tough life? I'm actually quite happy with my life. I just graduated from graduate school, I have a half-page picture in the city paper, my family is happy and healthy, so I literally have no idea where you pulled that from. I am thankful for all I have and who I have and that is something I do not take for granted.

"...wait for the first accident and the attorneys will eat you up."

I just saw a guy who got sued for saving someone's life via CPR but broke the persons ribs. Crazy world we're living in, but I appreciate the head's up.

In closing, I do not hold a 'Master Degree' involving english writing so I may have a few comma's where there needs to be semi-colons and so on and so forth. What I do have--along with many young adults like myself, is a passion. A passion to stand firm in what we believe, a passion to work with others to innovate and move the country forward in new ways, and a passion to achieve greatness. These optimistic approaches are something that you, your 'stuck-in-the-past' thinking, and our extreme school debt will never take away from young adults like us.

(I hope you reach this far, Larry. If you do, my personal code is 6LFTK9...feel free to punch it into the 'payment' section of your Lyft app before your first ride and the ride will be on us--up to 10 dollars!)

9 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by brandonstirpe on 02/26/2014 at 10:33 PM

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