I met Mr S on a midnight ride one Friday evening. What ensued was a fascinating 20-minute political discourse on his country of origin, Pakistan. We chatted about the perceived corruption within the current ruling party, and the conspiracy theories that still surround the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the first ever female Prime Minister of a Muslim nation. We debated on the impact of the CPEC project (the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), and the potential for Pakistan to become an economic stalwart in the region. And we agreed that there is hope for a prosperous South Asia if only some countries could shun their ugly, stagnant political positions and play nicely with each other. Someday, when these dreams are realised and he’s too old for the Canadian winters, Mr S would love to return to Pakistan. But for now, in the scary world we live in, he is incredibly grateful to call his adopted country of Canada … home.
I hopped in the front seat as Ms. L drove me home one night. She high-fived me as I got in. My destination was her neighbourhood, and the best thing to happen to a driver eager to call it a night. On the 25-minute ride home, she opened up about raising a 11-yr old son alone, filing for divorce from an abusive husband living overseas, and a teenage step-daughter she was afraid of. She talked about times she would get in her car and drive for hours simply to escape. Eventually, it would only make sense to drive for a living. It wasn’t just the lure of an extra paycheck (although that was a welcome bonus); driving at night was the only environment where she felt … the safest. We talked about counselling, her need to be stronger and more confident, and how to deal with a crazy teen. As we reached my destination, I wished her luck and told her I’d pray for her. It seemed like a trivial thing to say, but her smile made me feel otherwise. Sometimes, we just need someone to talk to.
This is Majid, my 65-yr old @uber_canada driver yesterday. He recalled picking me up from a downtown restaurant, late one evening … almost two months ago. He then handed me my client’s business card that had fallen out of my bag that night. The card had some notes I had jotted down at dinner. In his very broken English, he said he kept it in case he ever saw me again because it looked important. It wasn’t, but what a guy. On our 15-minute ride, and despite the language barrier, we chatted about his incredible memory, a school teacher back in Iran, and the crappy weather in Toronto. In a world consumed by hate and indifference, it’s nice to see there’s still people out there who…just…care. Majid is awesome. Be like Majid.