It’s a Friday night in Knoxville, Tennessee. The clock strikes 8 and the night’s still young. The beginning sounds of pregaming can be heard throughout apartment complexes across campus, and beer is being bought in mass quantities. Walls begin to vibrate with trap music as the young and reckless of UT get ready to venture to The Strip for a night on the town. However, as the pregaming festivities commence, a hero watches from a far. He is beauty and he is grace. He is a Joyride driver who will save your drunken ass from getting a public intoxication citation at 1 a.m. The Black Sheep has the inside story on what a night for a Joyride driver is like.
10 p.m.: The first wave of party-goers are ready to head to the Strip as he receives his first incoming calls for pick-up. It’s just him and his somehow-street-legal golf cart as he drives to the first location. He takes a deep breath and prepares himself for the horde of girls he sees standing on the sidewalk awaiting my arrival. As he gets closer they point and wave and their squeals of excitement could be heard from a mile away. They rush the cart, climb in and thank him for being such an awesome savior of their Friday night. He flashes a smile, gives ‘em a wink, and smiles to himself thinking of the tips he’s about to receive.
11 p.m.: Things have become hectic. The streets are littered with the drunk, he has to weave his cart very carefully to avoid hitting anyone. People who haven’t even requested a ride try to claw their way onto his cart but he’s able to fight them off. He’s a little shaken, but he’s ultimately just happy that no one has puked on him yet. And to make it even better, he received a $20 tip that the poor boy thought was a $5, but he didn’t bother to correct him. It’s going to be a good night.
12 a.m.: Things have been unnaturally silent on the radio for a little while. He’s on edge and but keeping his guard up, like a taxi driver in Compton. Constantly waiting for the drunk and disorderly to emerge from the shadows and attack.
1 a.m.: The calls have picked up again, but he’s finding out that many people apparently don’t actually know where they are. They call and tell him to come get them and then hang up, only to call back 5 minutes later wondering where the hell he is and what’s taking so long The night is getting difficult, groups of friends cat-call me from the sidewalk in efforts to catch a ride, “Hey Joyride man, I’ll show you my (explicit body part) if you give us a ride,” and on and on.
2 a.m.: There is only one hour left in his nightly ride and it is by far the busiest yet. For some reason everyone wants to go home at 2 a.m. and usually with someone they just met 2 hours ago. The calls are relentless and he has gone from The Strip to The Fort and back more times than he can even count. But his pockets are getting fatter.
3 a.m.: The night’s finally over. He survived with his wits about him and a good amount of cash in his hand. Knoxville’s rowdiest are finally in for the night. Now it’s time to park the cart, go home, and hope that nobody else calls him thinking he’s still on duty.
4 a.m.: Ring, ring, ring…