Joel Xu, 25, drives in Shanghai for People's Uber, a ride-sharing service. He makes about $4,000 a month – a good wage in Shanghai – and loves meeting new people he'd otherwise never encounter. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt/NPR

On Jan. 1, people gathered at a makeshift memorial marking the site of a New Year's Eve stampede on the Bund in Shanghai, China. Three dozen people died, and dozens more were injured. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

NPR reporter Frank Langfitt and one of his "customers," a biotech worker, whom he drove to a self-help conference in Shanghai's sprawling Pudong District. NPR hide caption

itoggle caption NPR