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General

Quarantine Carpool

“Welcome back to the Today Show! Thank you all for watching this morning! We’ve all been dealing with this lock down in different ways as communities have banded together some people have no choice but to find second jobs, side hustles as they’re called these days. But with the coronavirus closing kitchens and limiting social interaction the number of side jobs available have become few and far between. As unemployment rises we’re seeing how people from all walks of life are trying their best to making ends meet.”


“Up next we have Jesse, an Uber driver from Kannapolis, North Carolina, who has a very interesting story. Jesse is with us live via Zoom from his home in North Carolina.”


“Jesse, how are you?”


“Hi Craig, I’m good, excited to be here!”


“Like a lot of people trying to make ends meet during these strange times you’ve been driving Uber during this pandemic. What makes your rides different from just any other Uber driver?”


“Yeah, Craig, you know I’ve been a chef for the past 15 years at a decent restaurant here in Kannapolis. But when they shut their doors, I still had to put food on the table and keep the lights on. I have two kids and my wife is going to school trying to get her degree in accounting, so right now we have to pay the bills. So they closed the restaurant that Monday, I think it was March 16th, and I started driving Uber that Tuesday March 17th.”


“And are you still seeing a lot of people going out, going to work, needing rides?”


“Craig, you’d be surprised, I stay busy. You know, my shift is more during the night time hours from about 7:00pm-12:00 midnight. Sometimes I’ll stay out until 1:00 or 2:00am but usually I’m done by midnight. I stay home with the kids ‘til my wife’s done with school, we have dinner as a family because I feel that’s important, and then I usually head out and start driving around 7:00pm.” 


“And tell us about your idea, that’s apparently starting to bring in some pretty big name advertisiers.”


“Yeah, so that just sort of happened you know. I’m used to being in a kitchen, and its go-go-go from the beginning of the night ‘til your cleaning up, and the whole time your talking and joking, getting your work done but there’s a lot of camaraderie, a lot of back and forth  going on. So I missed that in the car, I missed that energy, I was getting bored driving all over from Charlotte and Concord. I tried listening to music and podcasts, but it just wasn’t the same. And the thing was, I was just noticing how everyone who was getting in my car was stressed and worried, you know?  I mean we’ve never been through anything like this before and everyone’s stressing about money, about health, about family ,about the future. So starting that second night, as a way to take people’s minds off the craziness of this situation, once they’d get in and tell me where they were going, I mean even though it pops up on my phone, I like to ask them just to be sure, better safe than sorry is what I say. Measure twice cut once, preparation baby you know what I mean. And if Our Government had taken a similar approach and listened to the doctor’s our economy wouldn’t be in this mess. But I digress, so I mean on my second night I got this idea, that whenever I had a rider whose destination was more than five minutes away, I’d ask them totell me a ghost story, take their minds off the doom and gloom and uncertainty outside and for the next ride just scare the beh-jeezus out of me.”


“You’d actually say that…”


“Yeah, I’d say,’hey…you know any ghost stories…and 9 times out of 10 they’d either have one in their back pocket or they would cook one up right there on the spot freestylin’! And once they started telling the story, I had this other phone, an old 5s that I just use for music and stuff, so I’d turn it around on them and film them telling their stories."


“And people didn’t have a problem with that?"


“Nah man, people loved it. Most people loved having the chance to get their mind off the whole, “crazy times” conversation you know, I mean nobody knows anything and to think about what’s going to happen just stresses everyone out because your mind goes in a million different directions and nobody really knows anything because we’ve never seen anything like this before, and so everyone’s had that conversation ad nauseaum…so… they were glad to divert their attention and have an audience…9 times out of 10, of course there were a few who wanted to just be left alone and ride in silence and I respect that too. I’m down to ride and just think sometimes.”


“And what did you do with the videos?”


“I started out just taking them home and watching them with my wife at the end of the night, some were good enough to share with my kids the next day, and the ones that were really good I would post to my Facebook page. But my wife is the one who’s responsible for this thing really taking off like it did. Before she started taking accounting classes at CPCC she did content marketing for a few brands in town so she knew the best way to “drive an audience” as she would say. And according to her the most important thing with social media is consistency. I told I had that hands down. I mean I drive every night seven days a week, and I’m gonna get at least one or two good ghost stories each ride, at least usually more like 4 or five…so she put together this whole campaign using some program. She created a YouTube page, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, and even made a specific Facebook page using the same name for all of them across platforms, so we could have “brand awareness” she said. I was down. I was excited that she was excited you know, this gave us something to do together and it was kind of cool to watch it grow the way it has.”


But then something happened that made your channels just explode, I hate to use this term now, but tell us about the video that went viral…”


“Yeah, umm, hah! I actually can’t believe that this happened. I still don’t believe that this happened. So, I picked up this lady, she had to go in to her office to get some forms Uptown right? So I pick her up over off Park Rd and we’re driving in and she says she just needs to grab a few things from the office and she’ll be right back. She said she needs to send a few emails on the way into town, but if I could just wait and then take her back she’d make it worth my time on the way back. I thought that was fine, so she goes upstairs at one of the big skyscrapers, does her thing yadda, yadda, comes back down. Gets settled in and says: ‘Take me to my condo in Birkdale, we’re gonna need a little longer for this story anyway…I hope you’re ready for this shit.’ Excuse me for cussing.”


“It’s fine…go on then what happened…”


“So I hit record on my 5s, and this lady starts spinning this tale about her Dad, who had a drinking problem, and her Mom and her sister, and apparently this all happened before she was born. Well one night they’re at a family’s house for some birthday party or something, no it was Easter, that’s right because Easter had just happened when I was giving this lady a ride, and she’s telling me this story. It was the Monday after Easter…Craig I’m getting chills just telling you this… and she tells me about how her Dad had been drinking and it had been raining, and they were coming around a corner when a big truck came barreling the other way, the Dad swerves, loses control of the car, hits the guardrail, flips the car, and it ends up in a ditch by the side of the road Easter Night. The Dad somehow gets free, crawls out the driver side door, and tries to get the little girl out of the back, he can’t seem to get the door open or pull her out, because the way the seat folded in pinned her against the back of the car and the side, so she’s stuck. The Dad then makes his way to the front of the car where he drags his wife out, starts smelling gasoline. Apparently the gas tank must have ruptured when the car rolled, so the Dad grabs his wife, thinking he can get her to safety, he pulls her out of the gully dragging her up the side of the road and sets her on the other side of the street, and just as he turns around to try to get his daughter out, boom the car goes up in flames…Ka-Boom!!!  And this is in the 80’s you know, so there’s no cell phones, and its Easter Sunday, in the South, at night, so even with people hearing the blast they were in the middle of nowhere out near Baucomb’s Nursery over there off 85. It took at least an hour before any firetruck or anything could get there, so that’s how her sister Tara died, tragic right..."


Terrible…”


“So apparently this is a well-known family story, and there’s some sort of curse that surrounded the sister and the ghost of the sister, and this is where things get really freaky Craig.”


“Keep going Jesse, we’re with you…”


“As this woman is telling her story, I start to smell this strange scent. It was like curry mixed with Southern BBQ. It smelled good man! So the lady is back there telling her story, talking about how she never met her sister, and how sad that all is, you know. But apparently the sister started appearing around the house shortly after her birth, breaking glasses, walking up and down the hall, throwing dolls across the room, you know… scary shit. Seems to me she was jealous of the lady, felt she had taken her place in the family, and I mean in a way I guess she had…anyway according to the woman one day about 10 years ago, the Dad says he saw the little girl, saw her in the TV Screen one night when he was up drinking by himself… so he sees her and gets terrified. He goes to bed and tries to pretend nothing happened. He wakes up the next morning, tells his wife about what he saw, goes to work and on the way to work, he’s killed by a drunk driver at 8:00am, who runs a red light not two miles from their house…”

And now the smell of curry and BBQ is strong man. Like, I can smell cooking meat. It didn’t smell bad, and I assumed it had to be Nick and Jim’s BBQ which is right there off 85, near where we were driving. But when we passed Nick and Jim’s they were closed, and had been for the past three weeks. Okay, so I look back there as the lady is finishing her story and I see the woman with her sister’s ghost sitting next to her, like right next to her, staring out the window like she’s been there the whole time. The only way I knew it was her was because she was all white and that smell of BBQ and curry was overwhelming. The lady looks at me and says ‘She’s sitting right next to me isn’t she?’ I nodded dumbly. Looked over at my phone and saw it had been recording the whole thing.”


“You got video of a ghost?!?!”


“Craig, I got video of a ghost! And now, the lady kind of looks like a ghost herself, all white and not so much terrified as, just sad. She looks over at her sister and says ‘Hi Tara’. Her sister’s all dreamy and asleep looking until she glances over at the lady and then she makes this kind of roar-whisper-rasp noise and her head gets real big like a snakes' head does when it's eating a deer, and her tongue came out and her teeth turned all fangy and Craig at that point I about went off the road, I was so scared. The lady screamed and just like that “poof!” The ghost was gone and all that was left was a little bit of that BBQ smell... like what's left after you’ve taken your “to go order” out of the car, you know, but the smell is still kind of there…? Know what I mean?


“Yeah Jesse, we know what you mean. Then what happened?”


“Just wait Craig, I know we got to go to commercial in a minute…but I’m almost done…so I drop the lady off at her condominium in Birkdale, tell her to be safe and stay healthy, and as soon as she’s out of the car I check the video on the phone and sure enough there it is. I send it to my wife not even waiting to get home first. She posts it to all of our accounts and by the time I get home, I’m talking 20 minutes max Craig, its already got one million views.”


“A Million Views?”


“Yeah! I guess with everyone stuck at home for the quarantine all people are doing is sitting around checking their feeds and watching YouTube…By the next morning it had gotten over 15 million views…”


Had any of your other videos received anywhere near those type of numbers?"


“Not even close Craig, I mean we’d be lucky seriously lucky to hit 10,000, if that.”


“So, you and your wife must be courting some pretty big name brands and advertisers now. That’s good for you…”


“Oh man its crazy right, we’re in a really great place.”


“Ok, so for those of you who haven’t seen this video, we’re gonna show a clip right now, is that okay with you Jesse?”


“Let’s do it!”


“We want to warn our viewers first that this footage is potentially terrifying, so if you have small children or anyone with a weak heart you may want to have them leave the room now.”


“Roll tape…”


“Wow! Jesse that is terrifying…that is the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life…are you and your wife just pulling a scam here, Jesse, that was so realistic…”


“But wait Craig, I’m not done yet, this story gets even freakier…”


“Freakier?!?”


“So that morning on the news, some woman had committed suicide from her balcony in Birkdale, they show her picture on the news… and guess who it was.”


“No!”


“Yup, it was the lady from the night before.”


“No!”


“And get this, apparently the fall from her balcony didn’t kill her. When the firetruck came they couldn’t see her because it was raining and they ran right over her and it was the firetruck that actually killed her.”


“What?!!”


“Craig, I’m saying… this is straight crazy, right!?!”


“So you’re saying that this woman told you the tragic story about her dead sister, the ghost of her sister appears to you in the car that night and the next day she’s dead…just like what happened to her Dad?”


“That’s what I’m saying.”


“So, this is just like The Ring…only in real life.”


“That’s the movie I was thinking about! Honey… it’s the Ring! Where that woman comes through the TV and kills anyone who watches it...Thanks Craig I'd been try to think of the name of that movie all day."


“Except, in The Ring, there were only a few VHS tapes out there to spread the ghost around…You filmed this girl…on your phone…and posted it to social media and how many hits do you have…?”


 “Right now on YouTube alone, we just broke 2.2 billion views… Brrr…I just got a chill… do you smell that…yum…honey? Are we having BBQ for lunch? Yeah, Craig and that was about an hour ago so I’m sure it’s more than that now.”


“And we just showed that clip on national TV…. with… Oh no….”

Jesse…. Jesse…are you there…Ladies and Gentleman we seem to be having some technical difficulties, we’ll be right back after a few words from our sponsors…. Stay tuned. Does anyone else smell curry?”



April 25, 2020 01:27

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2 comments

Vrishni Maharaj
00:30 May 27, 2020

This is awesome!

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Kathleen Jones
17:08 Apr 25, 2020

Awesome scary story! It has all the twists and turns that make a great albeit terrifying read!

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