Nathan for You (2013–…): Season 4, Episode 3 - Andy vs. Uber - full transcript

by Bakugan

My name is Nathan Fielder,

and I graduated from one of
Canada's top business schools

with really good grades.

Now I'm using my knowledge

to help struggling small
business owners make it

in this competitive world.

This is "Nathan for You."

In season two of my show,
I gave marketing advice

to a small taxi company
owner named Andy Farshidian,

whose business was being destroyed

by the ride share giant Uber.


The idea was to generate
press by encouraging

pregnant riders to
give birth in his taxi.

But what I never saw coming
was that just a few months

after that episode aired
Uber just happened to launch

a new campaign offering
free baby onesies to anyone

who gives birth in one of their cars.

Encouraging customers births
to get press was our idea.

And when I met up with
Andy to tell him about it,

he couldn't believe his eyes.

You know, you're right.

They stole our idea.

Did you know about this?

No, I never saw this.

This is the first time I saw it.

After already having taken so
much from this struggling cabby,

for Uber, this was a new low.

Business had gotten so
bad that Andy had resorted

to turning his cab into
a mobile karaoke booth

in a last-ditch effort to
hold on to his customers.

♪ Say my name say my name ♪

♪ Around you ♪

♪ Say I love you ♪

♪ If you... my name ♪

♪ Say my name say my name ♪

It was clear we had to do something.

So I sat down with Andy
to discuss our options.

I never get mad.

I'm very cool and calm all time time,

but I am so furious that
they did this to you.

They stole everything.
You know what I mean?

The idea, the money, the
passenger, everything.

They stole everything, you know?

Well, I have an idea,
but it's pretty crazy.

Talk to me.

Uber may be a powerful company,

but there's a big vulnerability
in their business model.

Anyone can become a driver.

So if we recruited a fleet
of disgruntled cabbies

to sign up as Uber drivers,

we could effectively
create a sleeper cell

of rogue agents within the Uber network,

allowing Andy I with
the push of a button

to turn our drivers into nightmares

and unleash total
chaos across the globe.

get Uber to stop
using those baby onesies

by threatening them with a sleeper cell.

A sleeper cell, you said?

- Sleeper cell.
- A sleeper cell.

- Not sleeping.
- Yeah, just a sleep cell.

- Sleeper.
- Oh, sleeper.

- Sleeper cell.
- Oh, the person asleep.

- Sleeper cell.
- But no one's sleeping.

- Yeah, I know.
- Right.

- Yeah, okay.
- 'Cause once Uber realizes

a large portion of their
drivers are under our control,

they'll have no choice but
to listen to your demands.

Very smart, very smart.

And at that point, you can tell them,

"Get rid of that onesie."

Knock them down.

That's the best idea.

I love you, man.

I, uh... I love you too.

Okay, so I think that's good for today.


I'd never started a sleeper cell before.

But in doing some research online,

I learned that the key to
running any clandestine cell

operation is having a
communication structure that

kept the identities
of the leaders secret.

That way, if any of our
sleeper agents were compromised,

they wouldn't be able
to rat us out to Uber

and bring down the cell.

From now on, we couldn't risk
using our personal phones.

We'd have to get prepaid burner phones.

So to make sure the purchase
couldn't be traced back to us,

I anonymously hired
someone off Craigslist

to go to a local Walgreens and
told him there would be cash

hidden in a dirty McDonald's
cup outside the location,

which he was to use to buy
up the store's entire supply

of prepaid cell phones.

The Craigslist guy was told
to then bring the phones

to an abandoned pier
at the San Pedro harbor

at exactly 1:15 p.m.,

where he would find a
waterproof pouch hidden

inside a white first aid
kit at the end of the dock.

He was then instructed to put
all the phones into the pouch,

hook the base of the pouch
to a nearby cinder block,

and throw it off the pier,
where unbeknownst to him,

I was awaiting the
delivery in full scuba gear

beneath the surface
completing the final step

of a burner phone purchase
that would be impossible

to trace back to either me or Andy.

Now that we had a way to
communicate with our drivers,

we would need to figure out
the commands to give them.

So I started researching
Uber Yelp reviews

and online comments to see
what behaviors from drivers

customers hated the most.

The complaints ranged
from foul-smelling vehicles

to telling offensive jokes
to blasting terrible music.

But to know which combination
of these would be most

effective, we would
need to test them out

on actual Uber customers.

So I had Andy go undercover
and sign up for an Uber driver

account with his personal vehicle.

And after taking it
for a final inspection

posing as an average Joe looking to make

a few extra bucks on the side...

Yeah, I'm just an average Joe,

make some money the side, you know.

Yeah, I'm a normal guy.

Andy was now registered as a
fully accredited Uber driver.

And that meant we could begin our test.

"Playing bad music," yep.

"Bad smell, driver..."

Driver what?

- Gas.
- Oh, that's bad, yeah.

- What's the worst of these?
- The worst one's

driver gets lost... go 5 right?

You're supposed to go to
5 North, drive me 5 South.

That's it. They're
like, "No, it's crazy."

Do you know how to do these, like...

Oh, of course.

I'm the master of these.

You're already a bad driver?

No, I'm not bad driver, but
I have lots of experience.

To simulate the smell of driver farting,

I brought Andy box full of ziplock bags

each filled with a
sulfur-based stink spray.

- So it's, like, one per ride.
- Okay.

They smell really bad.

Oh, they... oh, okay.

To test the effects of bad music,

I gave him a burned
CD with an endless loop

of Lou Bega's 1999 hit
"Mambo No. 5" on it,

considered by many experts to be one of

the worst songs ever made.

So with everything prepped,

Andy turned on his
Uber app and headed out

to pick up some customers.

- Hello. How are you?
- Fine. How about you?

- What's your name?
- Lori.

Lori, yeah.

Well, it doesn't matter the price.

How did it come out?



Excuse me. Can I... can
we roll down the window?

Oh, the window doesn't
work. It's broken.

- It doesn't go down?
- No.

Oh, 'cause it smells in here.

Oh, I'm in an Uber right now.

I'm going someplace, and
the window doesn't go down.

And it kind of smells in here..

So... oh, wait. No, so I can't...

Ladies and gentlemen,
this is mambo number five.

- Oh, wait. I'm on the phone.
- I'm sorry. I'm on the phone.

Excuse me. Sir.

Sir, I'm on the phone.

Oh, my God. I'm gonna get out.

♪ One, two, three, four, five ♪

I'm getting out.

The first ride lasted
less than a minute,

and after running through our list

with several other customers...

Yo, I think I'm lost, man.

You're lost?

The most intolerable
Uber driver behaviors

became clear.

Turn off the music.

Cut it off.

Turn off the music.

♪ ♪

Turn off the music.

And after a full day of testing,

we got the results we were hoping for.

Bad rating.

- Bad rating.
- They gave me all bad rating.

With our activation plan in place,

we decided to name our sleeper
cell after Andy's dog Lucky.

Because he thought it
would bring us luck.

So maybe we get lucky,
you know, from his name.

So I created a website that
would act as our main hub

for recruits to sign up.

Now I just had to get word
spreading amongst taxi drivers.

Because I had to remain
anonymous while recruiting

drivers, I went to a
local hospital pickup zone

disguised as someone who had
just been released from surgery

and began hailing cabs.

- Hi, there.
- Yes.

- Where do you want to go?
- Just circle the block.

We have business to discuss.

My goal was to get word
spreading that an anti-Uber

resistance was looking for members.

So how's the taxi business going?


Not doing as well as you used to?


Why is that?


If you're interested in
helping take Uber down,

give me a call.

I spent the entire day hailing cabs,

driving in a circle,
and talking up drivers.

Would you be happier
if Uber wasn't around?


Well, there might be a way to do that.

Each of the business cards
I gave them had a burner

phone number on it where
they could get information

about a meeting that would
be happening later that week.


The interested cabbies who reached out

were given the address of a
local day care I had rented

after hours, where they
were told the leaders of

The Lucky Group would be speaking.

So while the cabbies trickled
in and helped themselves

to our spread of complimentary snacks,

Andy and I got ready in
the back storage room.

- Does it fit okay?
- Yeah.

But even with disguises, Andy
was concerned that a fellow

cabbie might recognize his voice.

I'm the most famous cab
driver in Orange County.

- Everybody knows me.
- Really?

- Yeah.
- Can you do any accents?

Or can you disguise
your voice in any way?

So how about Southeast United States,

somewhere around there,

Louisiana or something in that area?


How was your day, partner?

How is your business?

The taxi's gone, man.

That's Louisiana?

- Somewhere around Louisiana.
- Oh.

Maybe it's not exactly, but
somewhere around Louisiana,

the Southeast, I know that one.

Yeah, I think that will work.

- Okay.
- Sure, yeah, okay.

And with that, we headed
out to begin the orientation.

I'd like to apologize for the disguises.

But what we're doing is
very sensitive in nature,

so they are necessary.

Firstly, thank you all for being here.

We are The Lucky Group.

So we all agree that
the Uber corporation

has destroyed our industry, right?


Our business down 60%.

- 85%
- Wow.

Since Uber.

As soon as Uber was mentioned,
a wave of frustration

swept over the room.

Uber corporation itself taken
over everything, everything.

It is completely unfair.

We're working with our permits.

We're working with background checks.

You know, whenever I see
bad news coming out of Uber,

I will see rape, rape, and
then, "We deliver puppies."

I will not allow anyone in my family

to ride in an Uber vehicle.

Because it's... not
because it's competition

but because it's unsafe.

I cannot pay my mortgage.

I cannot buy good shoes for my children.

Listening to these stories,
I began to understand

the human cost of Uber's
unquenchable thirst

for expansion.

And it's not me alone.

Maybe thousands and thousands like me.

I just hoped Andy would be
able to sell them on our plan.

I think have more experience

than any of you in taxi business.

I started in taxi business in about

1984, '85.

1980 right here.

Oh, okay, so you have four
years more experience than me.

It was a bit of a rocky
start, but pretty soon,

they started to get it.

I want you to humiliate Uber driver

and get one star.

How it is gonna affect the whole system?

- No, no, no, no, no.
- What he's saying is,

you give bad service to a customer.

- Bad service?
- Yeah.

- Thank you.
- And before long,

it seemed like we had won them over.

From our company alone,

I will tell about 250
drivers went to Uber,

and I have contact with all of them.

So they are sleeper cells,

all those people holding
City of Los Angeles

taxicab driving permits.

So you have 250 people.

I have... I don't have
to persuade anybody.

I can give you names and
driver's license numbers

in a matter of 25 minutes.

The meeting couldn't have gone better,

and the drivers were eager
to hand out our website info

to all of their friends.

I will... I have bunch of
friends I'm gonna give them to.

- Really?
- Yes.

Thank you so much.

Within a week, we
already had 62 sign-ups

in The Lucky Group inbox.

So with momentum building,
I felt it was time to

prepare a short video to make Uber aware

of our presence.













I was pretty happy with
how the video turned out.

But before sending it to Uber,

I wanted to show Andy
it to get his thoughts.

It's a little bit...

you go too far.

After watching the video,
Andy seemed very concerned.

It's not... they then sue
us, we go to jail, all of us.

And that made me worry too.

I hadn't fully
considered the legal risks

of starting a sleeper cell.

And as a Canadian citizen,
if I got charged with even

a misdemeanor, it would be
a violation of my green card,

and I'd be deported from the
country I've grown to love,

America, so I did some research
to see if there was anything

that could protect me from deportation.

And it seemed like the only
thing that could give me

immunity was if I
married a U.S. citizen.

There was no one in my life
who would marry me right now.

I tried asking Andy if he
would marry me as a favor,

but he didn't want to do it.

Just legal status?


I don't want to marry a man.

So with the clock ticking
and no romantic prospects,

I felt like the only way
to safely move forward

was to marry Andy without his knowledge.

My plan was to make it appear
to Andy like we were just

gonna grab some Chinese
takeout for lunch one day.

So I rented out a Chinese restaurant

and redesigned their
menu to only consist

of unappealing dishes
that no reasonable person

would want to order.

The only exception
was the house special,

a chicken and broccoli
dish called Ai-doo.

To officiate the ceremony, I
hired someone who specialized

in traditional Chinese weddings.

Oh, my gosh. I so nervous.

- Don't be. Don't be.
- Okay.

- All right, so... so...
- To be clear,

the ceremony's gonna
be entirely in Mandarin?

- In Mandarin.
- That's correct.

Okay, you're not gonna say a
word of English the whole time?

No, I won't say a word of English.

- Okay.
- Now, is Andy gonna

understand Chinese?

- Of course, yeah.
- Yeah.

- Yeah.
- Definitely.

So this where I was
thinking you could stand...

- All right.
- And do the ceremony.

- Oh, really?
- And we'll come in there.


So with our officiant in
place, I met Andy outside

when he arrived.

One thing before we go
in; it's really authentic,

the restaurant, so it's
respectful if you order

your dish in Mandarin.

It's written out phonetically.

Oh, okay.

And with that, we headed
inside to get married.

- What did he say?
- I think he...

he wants you to order.

Oh, you want me to order.

So... Ai-doo.

I do.

I told the officiant I wanted
our marriage certificate

to look like a restaurant bill
as an homage to our first date

where we split the check.

So you accept Visa, right?

After Andy and I each paid,

we signed what he
believed was the receipt...

Officially making us
jie hun, or married,

in the eyes of the state of California.

It was a little odd
sitting across from someone

who had no clue they were your husband.

But all that really mattered
is that I was now legally

protected, so we could finally
move forward with our plan.

I was still a little nervous
about delivering our video

to Uber, as I knew that
once I sent this email,

they would do everything in
their power to track us down.

So before sending it, I cleared
my entire browser history,

including cookies, and destroyed

any remaining evidence

that could link either me
or Andy to The Lucky Group.

I didn't want to leave a
single trace of our existence.

Even the daycare we met at was fake

and designed from the very
start to disappear by morning.

But when I called in Andy
to delete his Uber account,

he dropped a bombshell.

What's all this?

These are how many...
you've got five star.

This is...

No, but why have you
been doing Uber rides?

You're doing rides every single day.


Andy had logged hundreds
of rides on the account

I set up for him since the
time we completed our test.

Well, so is this your job now?

Are you an Uber driver?

- No, I'm not an Uber driver.
- I mean...

- Well, what do you mean?
- You've done...

No, I started to research
about that company.

But you're driving for Uber full-time.

- Because I...
- Andy, that wasn't the plan.

- Yeah, I know.
- We're supposed to be...

But I have to survive somehow.

Andy admitted that he
was now relying on Uber

for his entire income

and had been keeping it a
secret from me for weeks.

Why didn't you tell
me you were doing this?

Oh, I don't know why should I tell you,

because, you know, compared to taxis,

it's easier to go to pick up,
get the car, all those things.

I don't even come from taxi anymore.

He was now worried that if we
continued with the sleeper cell,

it would affect his driver rating.

And that's when I realized
Andy had been turned.

When he took me outside
and showed me that he had

transferred his entire
karaoke machine into his Uber,

words were not even necessary.

We knew this was the
end of The Lucky Group

and our fight for the onesie.

I had the first karaoke
taxi in the world.

Now have the first
karaoke Uber in the world.

I couldn't help but feel a bit betrayed,

but maybe from the very start
we had been fighting a battle

that could never be won.

Just like telegraphs had
been replaced by telephones

and horse and buggies by cars,

the free market had
again chosen a winner.

The real enemy wasn't Uber.

It was progress.

If Andy didn't want to move
forward with the sleeper cell,

there was also no longer a
need for us to be married.

So I sat down with a divorce lawyer

to explain my situation.

Oh, so what did he think was
going on during that time?

He just thought he was
ordering lunch from someone

at a Chinese restaurant.


Fortunately, the
lawyer said our marriage

would be easy to nullify.

So that's where the
element of fraud comes in,

that you brought him to the restaurant

under false pretense,

that you performed the
ceremony without his knowledge

and in another language.

But as I sat there
listening to him lecture me

about all the mistakes I had made,

I was reminded of the vows we had taken

at that Chinese restaurant.

I had promised to love and
accept Andy for who he was,

not who I wanted him to be.

I do.

So if Andy wanted to be an
Uber driver, I'd support him,

because no matter who he worked for,

I knew no one could stop
him from being himself.

Oh, this a karaoke Uber,

so you can sing.

♪ A feather in his cap
and called it macaroni ♪

♪ Yankee Doodle keep it up ♪

♪ Yankee doodle dandy ♪

♪ Mind the music and the step ♪

♪ And with the girls be handy ♪


So you're aware, Andy
and I won't be kissing,

because he has an STD right now.

- Oh, okay.
- Is that okay?

- Yeah, no, that's fine.
- You don't have to kiss.

- I mean, you can hug.
- Okay, sure, yeah.

- But both of you have to sign...
- sign the papers.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

by Bakugan