“There are no written ways to arrive at this. Either we jump out of this Uber or we die in here”, my friend Greta texts me. She’s sitting right next to me in the backseat of the Uber that she called for us. Here’s a little backstory.

Greta recently came down to the city from our hometown, Greenville, which is a little north of Albany. She’s here for my birthday, which doesn’t even happen until tomorrow. We were just finishing up a delicious lunch in a fancy midtown diner, and decide we should spend the afternoon strolling around the Met. We’re trying to fit in as much as we can with our little time together. Greta got us an Uber, and ten minutes later, a black SUV pulls up to the sidewalk. We walk up to the car, wave, and the driver rolls the window down.

The driver is wearing a black hat, sunglasses, and a black mask, so it’s hard to make out what he’s saying, but we confirmed that he was our driver. I get in the car and tell him that we want to go to the Met. Like a typical New Yorker, he grunts and we get going. Pulling away from the curb, everything seemed normal. Or did it?

We turn onto the street of the Met, but instead of stopping to let us out, he keeps on driving right past the Met. “Oh, sorry, we wanted to stop at the Met actually.” Greta says.

The driver says nothing. She leans forward to tap him on the shoulder. “The Met?” she asks him. He still doesn’t stop. I give Greta an anxious glare. I speak up this time. “Hey, you can let us out here.” He still. Doesn’t. Stop.

At this point, we are just driving further and further from Manhattan. I don’t know what to do at this point. Greta once again talks to the driver. “Hey, if you don’t let us out I’m calling the police.” I stare at her wide eyed. He turns and looks at Greta and mumbles out, “If you call the police, I will crash this car.” “Sure you will.” Greta says, satirically. He must’ve been serious because he starts to speed up.

I gulp and my phone buzzes. It’s Greta. ‘There are no written ways to arrive at this. Either we jump out of this Uber or we die in here.’ I look at her with my jaw slightly dropped. She doesn’t look nearly as worried as I am. I have no bars to text someone for help.

The driver slowly starts to slow down as we turn into a picnic area. There’s a bunch of people standing around a picnic table. It looks like they are throwing a party, but I know I can go to them for help. As soon as the driver slows down to a parking-lot speed, I slowly and silently unbuckle, and throw the door open. I jump/roll out of the car onto the gravel lot, and get up and run over to the group as fast as I can. “Help! Help! Does someone have a phone?” I get to the table and immediately put my hands on my knees and hang my head low to catch my breath. “Does… anyone… have a… phone…”

I stand up and wipe the sweat off my forehead and I open my eyes. And somehow I’m looking right at my Dad? “Sur…prise?” he says confusedly looking around. “Wha…?” Looking around, I realize all the people aren’t strangers. I see my Mom, Grandparents, Cousins, Friends. Everyone from home is here. Throwing me a surprise party. “What? But-”

I look over to the Uber. Greta and the Uber driver are walking towards me and Greta is smiling. The Uber driver takes off his mask and glasses to reveal that it was… Bodie? My brother– who I thought was a lunatic Uber driver– is staring at me and starts laughing. “We got you so good. You really thought you were going to die back there!”

I look over at Greta and she’s giggling too. “Greta, I can’t believe you were in on this too!”

She shoots a sly look at me. “What’s a surprise party without a surprise?”