What's Trending

Uber snippets, heartbreak video

Transient moments captured on the move and a poignant look at dementia

There are stories everywhere if you only look.

That mantra drives Instagram account Ubergrapher, which has gained a following of more than 1,000 users in just over three months. The account, which documents random passengers and snippets of their lives, is maintained by an Uber driver in his 30s who wants to be known only as Maverick.

By day, Maverick runs an Internet start-up for a yet-to-be launched online property service.

He starts his Uber shift in the evenings and typically drives people around for about nine hours, till the early morning.

Maverick, who started the Instagram account recently after purchasing a new camera, has been driving for Uber for about a year.


An Uber driver, Maverick, documents random passengers and snippets of their lives on his Instagram account Ubergrapher, which has gained a following of more than 1,000 users in just over three months. All the posts are made with permission from the passengers, he says. PHOTO: UBERGRAPHER/INSTAGRAM

He likens his posts to the popular American blog Humans of New York, which features street portraits and interviews with interesting people.

"Ubergrapher is the lazy version where people come to me and are stuck in a moving cage for an average time of about 20 minutes, so they have little choice but to share some of their stories," he tells The Sunday Times. 

"Talking also keeps me awake."

It helps that Maverick has a sense of humour. In one post about an attractive male passenger, Maverick says: "Last rider for the day is a local hunk… Actually, I'm also in shape like him. Just that my shape is round."

All the posts are made with permission from the passengers, he says. Sometimes he even discusses what the caption would be. The posts are uploaded daily when his shift ends.

He says he has missed out on capturing some good stories such as that of a 97-year-old grandmother who wanted to kill time and chat with someone late at night.

THE PRICE OF INSENSITIVITY

Doing yoga poses and taking selfies has become the norm for many visitors to Berlin's Holocaust memorial.

The tasteless snaps have prompted 28-year-old Israeli artist Shahak Shapira to retaliate in the only way he knew how - via Photoshop.

One image, for instance, shows two men jumping between the concrete slabs with the caption: "Jumping on dead J*ws."

"So I thought, yeah fine, I can help you with that," Mr Shapira told news outlet AJ+ in a video that has been viewed more than 58 million times.

Mr Shapira Photoshoped the two men over old grisly scenes from the concentration camp.


YouTube user Joe Joe uploaded a 25-minute video that captures the first time his mother forgot who he was. PHOTO: JOEY DALEY/YOUTUBE

The other photos he altered were culled from social media and dating profile sites. All 12 photos were posted on his website titled Yolocaust (https://yolocaust.de), an amalgamation of the words "holocaust" and "YOLO", which stands for "You Only Live Once".

The site, which has garnered more than two million views, soon drew worldwide attention, and the story was picked up by many news outlets. Some commentators have lauded the project's simple but effective manner in reminding people of the horrors of the Holocaust , while others dismissed it as cyber bullying.

Mr Shapira told those he featured their images will be removed when they e-mail him with an apology.

All 12 did so, and the images have since been removed.

  • NOTABLE TRENDS

  • #PROUDREFUGEE: US President Donald Trump's stance on immigration has sparked strong discussions on blanket discrimination among those affected. Those who spoke up include Sudanese-British basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers Luol Deng. "I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the opportunity to find refuge in a safe harbour." A related hashtag that has cropped up is #MuslimBan.

    CCTV SPRING FESTIVAL GALA: One of the top trending YouTube videos this week is broadcaster CCTV's coverage of the gala in the form of a 51/2-hour variety show. It covers events in Beijing, Xichang, Shanghai, Guilin and Harbin. It has been watched 3.2 million times so far.

DEALING WITH DEMENTIA

Dementia is a serious condition that exacts a heavy toll on the person afflicted and caregivers.

YouTube user Joe Joe uploaded a 25-minute heart-breaking video last Tuesday that captures the first time his mother forgot who he was.

The title is: "Episode #6 - I wasn't expecting this today. It turned out to be the worst day of my life." It starts off with user Joey Daley, 45, picking his mother Molly, 67, up for a day out at a mall in Ohio. She reveals that she keeps certain questions to herself for fear of angering her son.

Joey responds: "There's nothing you can do that will ever make me mad."

At one point, Joey asks Molly if she knows who his mother is.

She replies: "No… I don't know."

He then asks her: "So who am I?"

Her reply: "I don't know."

The video has garnered more than 900,000 views on YouTube.

One Reddit user said such video blogs are instructive in educating the public on how to deal with the grief of knowing a loved one has dementia.

Watch the episode here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt8C-P8Fc4g)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'Uber snippets, heartbreak video'. Print Edition | Subscribe