“Bird” flipped me the bird


 When you hear about age discrimination, it’s usually in the context of employers looking for and choosing to hire younger employees.  They discriminate against older members of the workforce. But the kind of age discrimination that pisses me off most is when I am unable to utilize resources that would potentially be available to me were I a year and change older.  

It all started on Friday: I was waiting to catch the bus to go to Homebuilding with some other members of our crew, and Stephan pulled up on an electric scooter.  I approached him to say “What’s up?” and to get a closer look at the scooter. My initial thought was that it was his scooter. It was painted solid black and looked like a slightly souped-up version of the electric razor scooter, sporting a white sticker with black lettering on it that said “Bird”. I was about to ask him about the scooter when I realized he was asking everybody if they had seen his phone.  While we were all trying to ask around for his phone I learned that the scooter Stephan had been riding was a rentable scooter from this new company that had just come to town. “Bird” is a company that offers scooters that you can rent for just a dollar plus twenty cents a minute and they can go up to 25mph. The best part of their business model is that in order to locate a scooter you use an app which has a map of all the scooters close by (and they are everywhere downtown).  You just walk to the scooter and rent it with your phone. Then, when you’re done with it you end the ride on your phone and just leave the scooter parked wherever you are. I was HYPED! I had never been so excited about a new company, ever. I could ride a zippy electric scooter around downtown AND it only cost ~$13 an hour.

On the bus ride to homebuilding I saw these scooters EVERYWHERE, they were parked all along the edges of sidewalks and you could see multiple people riding around on each block.  After 3 hours of thinking about Bird and the super-cool electric scooter I was about to rent as soon as I got off the bus, I was simply about to explode with excitement. I had input my debit card information into the app on the bus ride back and I was SO ready to ride that scooter to the Blake Transit Center and not have to wait another half hour for the next bus to come.  I got off the bus on Catherine street and walked a block south smiling and so giddy with excitement my friend was beginning to make fun of me.

I saw the scooter on the corner of Fourth and Catherine right by Detroit street and confidently strode up to it.  I scanned the QR code on the scooter with my app, ready to hop onto the scooter and zoom away. After I scanned the code an additional scanning window appeared on my iphone screen, it said “Please scan your driver’s license”.  I thought to myself “Oh, of course, that makes sense. What a cool safety feature” and immediately pulled out my wallet to scan the barcode on the back of my license. A loading icon appeared on the screen and then a message popped up that said “You must be 18 to ride the Bird.” I stepped back and just looked at the scooter for a few seconds in silence, shocked at this new information. Then I looked at my license: “Under 18 until 10-9-2019” and I have never been so disappointed, angry, and mentally pissed off in all my life.  

I had just experienced age-discrimination.  “Bird” flipped me the bird.