If you’re lucky enough to catch a lift with San Francisco–based Uber driver Stroy Moyd, you’ll get more than a ride across town.
Inside his car, you’re greeted with a faceful of confetti (actually torn-up newspaper), and he explains to you that you’ve just unwittingly become a participant on his self-created game show, Rideshare the Love.
You’re handed an iPhone containing a prerecorded video message from one of your close friends. In said message, your friend explains that she’s set you up on an Uber-tastic date.
The video ends. You’re handed a blindfold, and Moyd — all the while cracking jokes — picks up two potential suitors of your sexual preference (remember, he’s been in secret communication with your friend).
Then the game show begins.
Ride sharing: the next great dating frontier?
Note: the video below contains language that some readers might be sensitive to.
For Moyd — who bills himself as a "no-holds-barred, don’t-care-if-I-offend-people comedian" — the road has been rocky.
Seven years ago, he moved to Los Angeles and decided to go "all in" on comedy. He quit his job as a Pete’s Coffee barista, scraped together a regular gig at the Laugh Factory, and performed dozens of shows each week around the city. Despite this, he eventually ended up homeless, and had to move back to Oakland to live with family members.
He began driving for Uber and Lyft as a way to get back on his feet — but soon, a grander idea struck.
"I was driving a car with a girl and a guy in back," he recalls. "This girl was trying to spit game at the guy, and I just thought, ‘Damn, why don’t I have a dating game that takes place right here in my car?"
For the truly innovative flirters of the world, UberPool and Lyft Line rides have long been a ripe opportunity to find romance.
"So many times I’ve seen people meet each other in my car," one Lyft driver told Recode reporter Carmel DeAmicis last year. "There was this guy and girl who were in the same bar earlier in the night, so they recognized each other. They started talking, and then they were quiet, and all of a sudden they were kissing."
Many drivers regale tales of late night hookups in their cars, or pregame-amped small talk that escalates to numbers being exchanged. Moyd, to our knowledge, is the first to not only openly encourage such behavior but actively spark it.
How Rideshare the Love works
The process is simple, says Moyd.
"I’ll put ad on Facebook asking if anybody knows someone who’s single who wants to go on a surprise dating game," he says. "Someone hits me up and says, ‘Yeah, my friend is single, and I want to put her on a date."
That friend will then schedule a time and place to meet up with the dating game victim, secretly relaying location details to Moyd. When the victim sends an Uber request, Moyd is parked right near her and gets instantly matched.
The passenger is blindfolded (so that personality is favored over looks), and two "contestants" are picked up — people prearranged by Moyd himself. The blindfolded person has an opportunity to ask the other riders a series of speed questions and within minutes must select the contestant whom she favors.
The blindfold is removed, and the rider is given the opportunity to ask her selection on a date. The winning contestant can either accept the date or take a small amount of cash instead. "It’s about 50/50 what people choose," says Moyd.
In a city saturated with technology, apps, and screens, Moyd sees his game show as a way to encourage more face-to-face interaction.
"I have friends who, on a Friday night, will say, ‘Oh, let’s go out and meet some people,’" he says. "Their idea of ‘meeting’ people is staying home, watching Netflix, and swiping right for a couple hours."
"I want to bring the human element back to that first impression, but I want to do it in a funny way," he continues. "I’m a comedian, after all — not a matchmaker."