It was a cool Sunday night, the last day of winter in fact. I was pushing 50 hours of driving on the week, and was ready to call it a day. It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend; and although I didn’t work Friday night (St. Patrick’s Day), the other nights of the weekend were dreadfully slow. Which is always nice. I’m in the Lower West Side, and get a ping to pick up a “Brad C.” At the time, it didn’t strike me as anything out of the ordinary. Just was going to pick up Brad next. An hour or so left in my shift.
When I reach the pickup location, there’s not a soul on the road. Everyone must’ve been tuckered out from the weekend’s festivities. Eventually the rider finds my van, “Via… for Brad?”
“Yes, how are you?” was my go-to response for all pax. If I had only turned around at that point, I would’ve recognized the famous actor. Bradley Cooper. Bradley #$%&!@ Cooper! Not expecting anything out of the ordinary, I wait for him to get situated, and off we go (he sorta banged into my seat, but was nice about it haha).
“Long weekend?” I figured this was a safe play.
“Yeah man,” was the response. Followed by a half-hour or so of driving silence. Reflecting back on the whole exchange now, I’m left with this thought:
Q: Bradley Cooper obviously has the means to afford mostly any form of transportation, so why choose a ridesharing service like Via?
A: He’s awesome. And probably doesn’t want to spend a fortune on a car service like the rest of us.
So even A-list celebrities use ridesharing to get around New York City. And why not? At one point during the ride, we had to stop for another pickup. Two gay women joined the party, and like me, didn’t recognize the movie star in the dark of vehicle. I don’t think people really stop and analyze the other passengers when they’re getting into the carpool. It’s mostly just confirm you’re in the right car, and find your seat and sit down.
The magic didn’t happen until I finally reached his destination, at the Upper West Side. You see, my automatic door often causes some perplexity for pax. And Bradley Cooper was no different. I turned on the interior lights to help him get out, which is when the other pax connected the dots.
So for an A-list celebrity, using a carpooling service was an interesting choice for sure. Someone must’ve tipped him off about it, maybe he even was using a promotional code?
Related Post: Carpool Competition in NYC
When I finally reached the last stop of the shared ride, that’s when the two gay women filled me in. Watch:
This was one of those trips where I’m counting my lucky stars that I had a dash cam equipped. The footage is really crude, but the audio came out okay. So the video is really just to support the overdubbing. It’s funny how the woman had to drill it into my head too, as you can see. Ahhh, gotta love the working overtime brain. So unresponsive. You can hear me fully come to realize the magnitude of the who was just in my van as I finally drive away, “Wow, that was Bradley Cooper?”
Related Post: The Ultimate Dashcam for Rideshare Drivers
And really, the proof is in the pudding. My dashcam was able to pickup the audio of our conversation, albeit the video footage is all facing the road. Had I realized that I had such a mega-star in my van while on trip, would I have tried to film him? I doubt it. The guy’s already on film plenty, and his face is literally everywhere. Making him one of the most instantly recognizable celebrities in the world really. Unless he’s right behind you in a dark vehicle! I’m sure he appreciated the fact that I didn’t make any sort of big deal about it.
In fact, you can hear him say at the end, “whatever, I’m just gonna sneak outta here.” So, all’s well that end’s well I guess. Hope he gave me 5 stars. 🙂
So there it is. Just another reason to do rideshare driving in NYC. After telling my brother the whole story, and showing him the video, he brought up an interesting point. “It’s a numbers game,” he reasoned. “The more you drive, the better chance you have of meeting someone famous.” I’ve got to admit, the logic was there. Somebody whose only doing this gig part-time probably won’t meet a recognizable face, and/or a publicly known figure.
I’m not remorse or embarrassed in the slightest after inadvertently meeting Mr. Cooper. I’m still pretty blown away; however, and this should make my “what celebrity does this person resemble” game more interesting now.
Related Post: How to Be One In A Million
From what I’ve read online, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence either. And it makes sense that celebrities would opt for ridesharing over more public forms of transportation. Again, there were hardly any souls on the road this night. Even yellow cabs were few and far between. I’m guessing that’s the reason Mr. Cooper decided to go with ridesharing on this particular night. But all the more power to him to pick Via, a carpooling service that has no single-service trips at all!
Would it be too much to say that this night changed my life? Perhaps, but I’m super energized and truly star-struck still from this experience. Wow. Just wow.