THE ON-DEMAND DRIVER

Cecilia Brentlinger, a single-mother discovered that working as an on-demand driver gives her the freedom to choose her own hours, but it also comes at a price.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired on August 18, 2017, October 20, 2017, March 30, 2018, and December 2, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

YOU WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH?

HOW I GOT STARTED?

OKAY.

I WAS IN FRONT OF SQUARE LOOKING AROUND, THINKING WHAT I'M DOING IN THIS BIG CITY THAT IS VERY FAMOUS FOR MONEY AND EVERYTHING AND I HAVE NO -- YEAH.

SO A WOMAN START DRIVING A YELLOW CAR.

AND I SAY WHAT?

IF THEY DO, I CAN DO.

I WORK FOR UBER FIVE DAYS A WEEK, AND I MAKE AROUND $700 TO $1,000 A WEEK WORKING 24 HOURS A DAY, SOMETIMES A LITTLE BIT MORE.

I STARTED TO DRIVE WHEN THE CAR CAME, NOW IT IS A HUNDRED.

MY NAME IS CECELIA RENENBERG.

NEW YORK IS HARD TO DRIVE BECAUSE IT IS A LOT OF TRAFFIC.

I WAS A SINGLE MOTHER.

WHEN I CAME HERE I WAS SCARED BECAUSE I HAVE NO FAMILY, NO FRIENDS.

I DON'T KNOW NO ONE.

BUT I FEEL STRONG ENOUGH TO DO BECAUSE I SAW A LOT OF PEOPLE DO, WHY NOT ME?

AND I DID.

NOW I'M WORKING UBER PART-TIME AND ANOTHER PART-TIME FOR LIKE A HOUSEKEEPER.

I CAME FROM PERU AND I WANT TO CHANGE AND LIVE THE KIND OF LIFE FOR MY SON.

I'M ALREADY CITIZEN AND I LIVE IN FLUSHING QUEENS.

AND I HAVE ONE BEDROOM AND I PAY $1,200 A MONTH.

♪♪

OH, YOU'RE WELCOME.

HAVE A GOOD DAY AND HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

IT IS REALLY TRUE, YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU WANT BUT HAVE TO WORK HARD TO SEE YOUR MONEY.

♪♪ ♪♪

YES, IF I'M ALONE.

I HAVE A LOT [ INAUDIBLE ]. EARLIER TODAY I HAVE TO GO FOR TRAFFIC COURT, TO FIGHT A TICKET.

NOT GOOD TO HAVE ONE.

THEY SUSPEND IF I HAVE 12 POINTS.

I ALREADY HAVE 11.

AND I WIN.

THE JUDGE DECIDE NOT GUILTY BECAUSE THERE IS NOT BIG REASON.

IT IS SILLY TICKET.

♪♪

I LOVE ALL MY FAMILY.

IT IS NOT LIKE BEFORE, I MAY FOR DINNER, NOT ANYMORE.

MORE THAN A YEAR.

TO BE A WOMAN DRIVING, SOMETIMES I DON'T FEEL SAFE, BUT IT IS A LOT OF CRAZY PEOPLE ON WEEKEND NIGHT.

I HAVE A LOT OF BAD EXPERIENCE.

BUT I REALLY NEED TO WORK BECAUSE THE RENT IS NOT CHEAP.

IT IS HARD FOR ME TO PAY.

♪♪

NEW YORK MAKE ME MORE STRONG THAN BEFORE.

OH, WHEN I CAME HERE I WAS WAITRESS, HOUSEKEEPER, NANNY, ALL THE JOBS THAT WOMAN CAN DO WHEN THEY IMMIGRANT BUT I REALLY WANT TO START AND GO TO SCHOOL.

I'M ON MY WAY.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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