This time last year almost to the date, I had my first interview with Lyft:
I remember how nervous I was when I first jumped on the call and how calm I felt the second I heard the friendly voice on the other end of the phone. What first drew me to Lyft as an employer is the same thing that has kept me as a fan: they are true community builders. Throughout the entire interview process, it was obvious they paid attention to who I was rather than just trying to ask bland questions gathered from what little information can be found on my resume. Even when I didn’t take the job offer from Lyft, they followed up with a wonderful email asking for information about why and how they could improve. I remember feeling stumped as to why I didn’t take the job because the main reason I took the job at Earnest was because it was something that I knew was completely out of my comfort zone. I didn’t take the job because it fit me too well and you all are too in line with my values? Needless to say, it was a tough email to respond to.
Since then, I have chatted with their Director of Customer Care and sat in on a Lunch & Learn with their Director of Community Relations. I have taken countless Lyft rides filled with both small talk and real talk. Throughout it all, Lyft as a company, as individuals, and as an app has only ever treated me like a friend.
When I went home in December to Florida, Lyft had opened up in Orlando. After listening to radio broadcasters try to make sense of the app, I realized I was a long way from my tech bubble in San Francisco. It made me wonder what Lyft was like there and if it was up to the same standards even on the other side of the country. The answer to this question came a couple of days later when I went to visit a dear family friend in the hospital. While I can’t disclose information about her medical condition, I’ll just say that during the days prior we were planning on visiting to say goodbye. About 15 minutes after I got there, a woman I didn’t recognize walked in the door. My family friend and this unknown person greeted each other like old friends.
“How do you all know each other?”
“I’m her Lyft driver!”
I was floored. We spent the next hour chatting and catching up all while the Lyft driver turned friend joined in. I found out that the same Lyft driver had taken her to almost all of her doctors appointments over the past couple of months. I wanted to cry because here was a stranger who stepped in while I was away and unable to help. When my family friend was finally discharged, the Lyft driver helped carry her stuff out while I wheeled her to the entrance. The Lyft driver ran to get her car while I hugged my family friend goodbye. Rather than spending the hour making money driving other people around, the Lyft driver spent that time with us (time is all we have). The choice to do that is one that comes from the culture Lyft has created. A culture that focuses on building up the community and treating “users” as friends. I recently heard Margaret Gould Stewart, Director of Product Design at Facebook speak about how they refer to users as people…
“As somebody once said, it’s kind of arrogant to think that the only reason that people exist is to use what you built. They actually have lives, like, outside of the experience they have using your product. So the first step to designing in a human-centered way is to recognize that they’re humans.”
While Facebook may have recently started doing this, Lyft seems to have always maintained this attitude and their culture reflects it. From their directors to their drivers, it’s pervasive and completely evident that they care about everyone their company touches. Whether it’s the entire company partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving on New Years or a single driver helping out a family friend, their actions speak louder than any words spoken by other companies in the same space. Thank you, Lyft, for always exceeding my expectations and for treating me like not just a person but as a friend.