WKU alum and rideshare driver connects with passengers via social media

Larry Duncan of Bowling Green KY works as a Lyft and Uber driver in the city of Bowling Green as a side job. “I love driving and interacting with new people every day,” Duncan said, “I usually talk with my passengers about their day and I learn a lot about them and after their permission, I share a picture of us on my Instagram account.” Mr. Duncan started posting videos on his YouTube channel “Lyfting With Larry” three months ago and planning to continue driving as full-time after his retirement.

Kelley Holland

With ride-sharing apps gaining popularity, many people have taken up these driving jobs in order to make some extra cash.

Larry Duncan, a WKU alum, took this opportunity in 2017 and is now driving for both Lyft and Uber. Between the two, Larry said he has given around 2,000 rides.

“I just love doing it,” Larry said. “I really enjoy it. It’s just a blast to me. I’ve always enjoyed driving.”

Duncan, who has lived in Bowling Green since he was 7 years old, works as a computer systems engineer for the city. His wife is a teacher in Logan County who is often busy grading papers or creating lesson plans. Their eight children are grown, so Duncan decided he wanted to keep himself occupied while making some extra money.

He said he has always been the “designated driver” among friends and finds driving relaxing, so Lyft and Uber are the perfect fit.

“It’s like an adventure every night,” Duncan said. “You never know who you’re going to meet or where you’re going to end up.”

Duncan said he has met many interesting people, including a man who invited him to come watch a steeplechase horse race in Nashville. Duncan said he met another man who kept complimenting and touching Duncan’s hair.

“I talked to some of the other drivers, and they all knew who he was,” Duncan said. “He was known for doing this.”

Larry is a part of a few different Facebook groups where Lyft and Uber drivers provide helpful tips and information to one another. One group called GR Rideshare Adventures is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It provides a podcast, website and YouTube channel where its members share experiences. Another group is strictly local, allowing drivers in Bowling Green to connect and share information.

Given the area, Duncan said he provides rides for many college students. After noticing many of his passengers taking photos during the ride, he began to think about what he could do to connect with them. Soon after, he got the idea to start an Instagram page called “Lyfting With Larry” where he posts photos with his passengers. He also set up a dash cam and started a YouTube channel where he posts videos of funny rides and interesting conversations.

Besides his social media presence, Duncan said he finds it rewarding to know he’s getting his passengers home safely, especially if they’ve been out drinking. He also allows his passengers to talk to him about nearly anything, which he says puts him in a position similar to a bartender.

“People get the impression that they’ll never see him again,” Kathy Duncan, Larry’s wife, said. “They open up a lot of times to him. He’s kind of serving as a counselor, just being able to listen.”

Larry said while he has had passengers who were out celebrating a special occasion, he has also had some who had just experienced the loss of someone close to them. In such situations, he said he does his best to comfort them and sometimes offers to pray with them.

Kathy said she feels that being a Lyft and Uber driver has allowed her husband’s personality to shine through even more, which she said is visible in the videos he posts.

“I see the joy it brings him,” Kathy said. “It just seemed like a natural extension for him to be able to do this.”

One of the most prominent aspects of Larry’s job is the fact it gives people a chance to tell their stories.

“Everybody has a story to tell, and he wanted to be able to incorporate how people can tell their story but without making them feel obligated to,” Kathy said. “I think it’s his personality and his demeanor that makes them open up.”

In the future, Duncan said he hopes to expand his YouTube channel by not only posting funny videos but by showcasing his passenger’s unique stories. “If I’m going to be out here doing this, I’m going to make it fun,” Duncan said.

Features reporter Kelley Holland can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]