I had a neck operation four weeks ago and for two weeks I couldn’t drive. My grown sons had introduced me to Uber and since I only live three miles from the office, it was perfect to get back and forth from home. It’s often in the course of a normal day’s events that an appreciation for certain people and situations becomes more pronounced.
On one of the mornings going from home to the office I was picked up by Adam. Being in the people business I’m aware that everyone has a story, especially Uber drivers. Adam drives a Prius (… I already think I like him, because I own one of those). The car isn’t particularly clean but it’s not offensive. Adam is wearing jeans and a sport shirt, with rather shaggy hair. I ask him how long he’s been driving Uber and how he likes it. He answers, “I’ve been driving for about two years and it’s okay. I also drive for Lyft and they are okay too. It would be better if they paid more. It’s hard to make money with these guys. Nobody takes into account the depreciation on your car and stuff like that. But it’s okay. It’s a job that I can do anytime I want; I just wish they paid more.” As I got out of the car, I looked down and saw a little “Bernie” medallion hanging on Adam’s key chain.
Going home that evening I order up another Uber. A shiny, freshly washed and waxed black Suburban pulls up. Before I can open the door, Kino jumps out of the driver’s seat. He is dressed in a black suit, a freshly pressed white shirt with a black tie. He states, “Good evening, Tony. I’m Kino and I’ll be driving you home this evening. Let’s put your briefcase in the back seat.” He takes my briefcase and carefully puts it in his backseat. He opens the front door and I get into the passenger seat that appears to been freshly conditioned with leather conditioner. The Suburban smells clean and fresh and I could have eaten off the floor.
Kino asks me if I need to make any stops on my way home. He tells me it’s going to be a great ride and he’s proud to have me as a guest. Get that…a guest! As with Adam, I ask Kino how long he has been driving for Uber and what his story was. (I wish I could communicate his accent, but it was clear he wasn’t from Dallas Texas.) He says, “I’m from Kenya. I have a Master’s degree in Health Administration but since it is from an English university it’s not recognized here in this country so I’m getting another Master’s here.” “So, do you like driving for Uber?” I ask. “I absolutely love it,” he says. “It is a most wonderful experience. I meet lots of people. I can work as much as I want. I can go to school and still earn a very good living. Just think, three years ago I was in Kenya and now I have my own business in the United States!…. Isn’t America wonderful!”
Adam got a one star review, Kino got a five star review. Adam worked for Uber…Kino worked for himself. Isn’t America wonderful! Kino reminded me how fortunate we are.