Getting to Know My Uber Drivers

Aug 23, 2017

Not long ago I had the pleasure of visiting family in New York and New Jersey. As everyone is rather spread out, I found myself calling Uber quite a bit. I am new to this service, since here in LA we basically live in our cars. So I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t anticipate the fascinating conversations I had with almost all my drivers.

There was the single mom with teenagers who works as a school secretary. In the summer when things are slow, she’s permitted to take Uber calls, and was very happy to get out of the office and drive me. We spent the entire ride discussing the perils of raising kids in the digital age, and how she tries to stay one step ahead at all times.

There was the man from Lebanon whose wife speaks at conferences all over the world about children with learning disabilities. We spent the time talking about possible reasons for the obvious rise in these issues in recent years.

There was the fellow from Sudan who has two young children and wanted my take on the differences between parenting and grand parenting. He wanted to understand the nature of the special bond we grandparents feel for our grandkids.

There was the guy who, in addition to driving for Uber, is an engineer and owns a transportation company that contracts buses out to school districts.

Then there was the one from Peru, also an engineer, whose parents used to work in the aerospace industry and who has lived in more countries than I could count.

Perhaps the most interesting was the youngish American-born guy who took me on the long drive from Westchester County to New Jersey. He asked me what I did and when I told him I wrote medieval verse fairy tales, he wanted to know where my stories came from and how I formulated my characters. He asked detailed, pointed questions. Then I asked what he did. He writes comedy sketches, he told me, and produces and promotes comedy shows. So then we discussed ways in which he comes up with his ideas, how he sees the humor in the everyday. The hour’s drive went by so quickly, and it was a delight for both of us.

Who knew ride-sharing could also lead to such interesting idea-sharing? So my suggestion to all who use this service: Get to know your Uber driver. You never know what you might discover!

Xianna Michaels Flower Mandala