Michelle Shad was a Florida resident until it was time to move to Oxford, Mississippi to be closer to her son and grandchildren. Shad is known as the “Best Uber Driver” and is well-known on her social media. She originally was in the upholstery business and started driving for Uber because she knew how important it was for students to have a safe ride home. Her voice has been heard by numerous students and locals around Oxford.
Q: How long have you been an Uber driver?
A: “January 20th was my first ride and it happened to be friends of my son. I am now up to 3,014 rides and look forward to more.”
Q: What made you want to drive for Uber rather than another taxi company?
A: “The local taxis have to follow a different format than Uber. Students have asked me to start my own ride-sharing company by I like to stick with Uber because it feeds me the rides. I do not have to go out and look for rides. I am also a registered Lyft driver.”
Q: Best experience as an Uber driver?
A: “I have students tell me that they think they are riding with a celebrity. They look forward to seeing my name, Michelle on their account. I also love how the students ask me how my day is going and about my grandson.”
Q: How did you decide that you wanted to incorporate social media accounts?
A: “When I first started giving rides I knew I needed to go big. She was ultimately the “best” Uber driver in town. I also offer many amenities and a no judgment car. Students would say ‘wow you are really the best uber’ and the title stuck. The title remains on all my social media platforms. I mainly started the page as a way for students to reach out. The page has grown by stories told in the car and has taken off. Before this past fall semester, I had 750 followers and now at 2,045.”
Q: Discuss your engagement with Ole Miss students.
A: “I like to give out life, school and dating advice when students ask for it. I communicate with everyone equally and acknowledge everyone when they open the car door in a positive way. It is truly more than just an Uber ride.”
Q: How often do students refer to you as a “motherly” figure?
A: “I am fine with students calling me whatever they want me to be in that setting. I love the kids and think of all of them like my own. I want to be able to take care of them and look forward to their successes. I hate the way they are treated in Oxford and want to be able to protect them. A few names that I have been referred to are: ‘best ever’, ‘Mississippi mom’ and ‘uber mom.'”
Q: Do you have any suggestions for Uber?
A: “Yes, actually I would like for Uber to put in the ability for females to ride with other female drivers if they choose. I would also like for them to do extended background checks, inspections in all vehicles, take the sign up process down from the internet and allow riders to request a driver.”
Q: You have been in the process of making a podcast and writing a book, how is that coming along?
A: “I would like my podcast to represent the Howard Stern Show, meaning no subject is off of the table. I want to ask the hard questions and come up with the answers. The podcast is named ‘200 Stoned Road’ and will promote my book as well. I started writing the book based on stories from the car. The premise of the book is to give students the knowledge which will lead them to the confidence to stand in truth. I hope to have it done upon the graduation season.”
Q: Do you have any last minute thoughts for students or the community?
A: “I genuinely care for every student in this town. I listen, I ask the right questions and I make sure they leave the car better than what it was when they got in. Lastly, jokingly no food and no drinks allowed in the car.”