Lessons from the backseat

One of my favorite parts about living in a city is that you can always count on getting an Uber in less than 3 minutes. Besides it being uber-convienient, I genuinely enjoy getting to know the drivers and having them tell me stories about their “worst rides ever.” Recently, however, I’ve started to realize that I always end up getting a driver that teaches me a lesson or expands my worldview in some way.

Let me just start off by saying that I do not believe in fate or soul mates or anything of that nature. Although it is eerie when you realize that your Uber driver is someone you had matched with on Tinder a few weeks ago (yes this did happen once). However, I honestly think that some people are meant to come into your life, even if it’s just for a 10 min Uber ride, to teach you a lesson that will change your life.

This past weekend, I started to chat with my Uber driver. I ended up telling him all about my life and he told me about how he had come to the States (from Ethiopia) to further his education. I casually asked him what made him decide to start Ubering/how does he like it, and his response literally blew me away. He told me that his dream was to start a college in Ethiopia where kids could attend for free. He was in the process of raising money to do so, and so he committed to Ubering two days a week (in addition to his regular job) solely for the purpose of raising money to start the school. I was blown away, and I told him how much I admired his dedication to fulfilling his dream. I don’t remember the rest of the conversation exactly, but I know that we somehow ended up talking about purpose and fulfillment in life, the pursuit of happiness, and about how God blesses people so that they can then bless others. He told me, “People so often ask how a good God could let children starve, when the real question is how could good people let children starve?” 

I remember getting out of the Uber, slipping him a $20 bill (because that’s all the cash I had on me…), and going about the rest of my night feeling as if everything else was completely inconsequential.  It was like I was living in this little dream bubble that was so safe, so excluded from the real world. If someone was willing to dedicate their entire life to helping build a brighter future for others, and even gave two days of his week to that purpose, then what the heck was I doing with my life?

I realized that literally everything I do in my life revolves around me. I read self-improvement books, go out for drinks with friends, focus on furthering my education, work to pay the bills, and occasionally binge watch a series on Netflix, but, honestly, I can’t say that I do anything to serve a higher purpose outside myself. Recently, I’ve been getting so much better about self-care and learning how to genuinely love and accept myself, but what’s the point of doing that if you’re not using that empowerment to love and serve others?

So thank you, Abel, for changing my whole perspective on life in under 15 minutes. You have a heart of gold and I am so lucky to have met you. Thank you for giving me hope in humanity.

Abigail


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