We all know that getting into an Uber is kind of a toss-up as far as what kind of driver you will get and what type of experience it will turn out to be. As a driver we have that same moment of suspense when we are about to pick up a ride. Will our passenger we normal? A sociopath? Or worse…a murderous psychopath? Or maybe they will just be socially awkward and say funny things that I will repeat later to friends and family when they ask how I can possibly enjoy driving people around for extra money. Either way- I think It is important to remember that all of our fares are people too…with lives, families, feelings. Judging them too quickly or mocking them as I have seen many do is not the correct way to act and you never know someone’s backstory in that snapshot of a moment that you get to interact with them.
I recall, fondly, this one ride where the customer seemed a bit off at first. I wasn’t quite sure how to take it or how to talk with her as she seemed somewhat out of it or loopy. I wasn’t however, going to let that stop me from trying to make her ride enjoyable and put her at ease. After all she seemed nice enough, just a bit off…kind of like that weird aunt everyone seems to have. And hey- weird aunts are people too right? After talking with this woman, she reveals to me that she actually has a brain injury! One that causes her frontal lobe to shrink…affecting her social skills but mainly it affected the area of her brain that supplies or controls motivation. She goes on to tell me that it is so pronounced that the motivation to even stand up at times or walk to another side of the house is monumental. These are things I, as I suspect most of you, take for granted every day. To help combat some of these issues and help her get daily tasks done she actually told me she “hires pot heads to come tell her what to do and get her motivated to get up.” Apparently these guys get paid to repeatedly tell this woman what to do until she gets up and completes the tasks she needs to for the day.
This woman, this ONE woman, made me remember to never judge someone by just a snapshot in time. Had she not elaborated on what was going on in her life…I would have never known the reasoning behind how she was acting but I am sure I would have made judgements based on her actions. I regret even thinking that I would do that, but now I always make sure I take a step back if I find myself quick to judge and recall this woman and her story. She will never know that her 15 minute ride with me and sharing her story made such an impact on me but it did and I wish I had gotten the opportunity to thank her.