Riders can feel safe knowing that they will get where they need to go when former Air Force Captain, Mike Spray, is at the wheel. Somewhat of an unknown secret, his Castle Rock Uber taxi is making sure riders – and sometimes their food – arrive at their desired destination.
The opportunity to drive for Uber came up after Spray was laid off from a local gun store retail job. “After I was let go, I tried to get my own business going, holding private gun classes,” Spray recalled. However, it was taking him longer than expected to generate a steady income again.
Now in his 60s, he felt like his options for work were becoming scarce. “My wife, Teri and I started to dip into savings and eventually pull from social security to make ends meet,” he said. “That’s when a friend started talking to us about driving for Uber.”
Having run out of ideas, Spray decided to apply for the job. “We knew we had to make changes fast and it was my only choice at the time,” he recalled. After accepting his application, Uber quickly helped Spray give his family some security again. “I was finally bringing in a regular paycheck.”
Since December of 2016, business has remained steady. “I’ve done almost 1,000 trips since I started,” said Spray. “However, most of my passengers have not been from the Castle Rock area…maybe because they don’t know about the service yet or that there are Uber drivers here.”
Instead, a large portion of passengers book his vehicle after he drops someone at a location to the North – like Greenwood Village or Denver. “Most morning calls are from riders who need to get to work or who need to get to the light rail station,” said Spray. The rest of a typical evening then speeds by taking people to and from restaurants, Broncos games or clubs in Denver. “Luckily, my cloth seats haven’t been thrown up on yet!” he laughed.
It’s a simple ‘ping’ through the Uber App that lets him know where to go for his next just pick up. “Clients just search for their city and set up an account that tracks drivers in their area,” Spray continued. “Once they select a car that’s close, it pulls up a picture.” Along with seeing the face of their driver, they can see the cumulative rating – of the driver and their car – and gauge an approximate cost of “Ubering” to their destination.
As of late, people aren’t his only passengers. His backseat is sometimes taken up by an order of Tandoori Chicken. “Some people are busy doing other stuff at home so they call Uber to pick up their to-go order for dinner,” he smiled. “One call had me drive to an Indian place over on 64th to then take it to a pregnant woman on 103rd…it’s a funny animal!”
For now, its that winning combination of pick-ups and drop-offs that is allowing Spray to enjoy his life again. “I can turn on the App when I want to work and turn it off when there are other things to do,” Spray said. “Using my car to Uber has been a true blessing for our family because it’s allowing me to enjoy life with Teri again.”