As an Uber driver, driving the same person is rare. It’s happened to me exactly twice. The first time it happened is a ridiculously strange story I’m still trying to figure out how to tell. The second time it happened was on a rainy, January day when the year still felt like a blank journal.
He wanted to try to cram a six-foot carpet into my poor little Mini Cooper. We wedged it through the trunk and into the back seat. He climbed into the front and thanked me. He wore work clothes and talked about how he happy he was to be making double-time-and-a-half. I thought I recognized him, but if it was the person I thought it was he didn’t look the way I remembered him looking. If you know what I mean.
Anyway, it was him, and in fact I wrote about meeting him a few weeks ago because the first time I drove him made such a big impression on me. He was the same African-American guy I drove right after the election, the same one who was feeling fearful after the results came in. He told me he still felt uneasy. I asked him how his year was going. He smiled, big.
“Well, we have had some news since I saw you last. My girlfriend’s expecting,” he said. “I’m going to be a father.”
He told me he was taking on all the hours he could. He remembered when his brother was little, eight years younger than him, and he had to raise him because his dad was always at work. He used to get up early and help him with his homework. He taught him how to play sports. He kept him in line.
“I’m ready,” he said, smiling. “I’m ready to be a father.”