She said things didn’t work out well for her in Alabama, that she needed a fresh start. It didn’t sound like her parents were very receptive to her moving back in with them, so she stayed with a relative here in Lancaster for a few months, just to get back on her feet.
“Have you been able to find work?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah,” she said. “I’ve got two jobs now, and we’re heading to my new place.”
We cruise out of the city, out to where you can breathe, on narrow roads that wind among the fallow winter fields. We get to her new place and I help her unload her suitcases. She seems nervous and excited and anxious and hopeful. Her roommate asks about my car. I wish her good luck, all the best, and hit the road.
The next guy I drive is laughing as he climbs into the front seat.
“Oh, man, I’ve always wanted to ride in a Mini! I love your car! I’m giving you five stars no matter what.” He pauses, thinks for a moment. “Just don’t get in a crash, okay?”
He’s from Puerto Rico, grew up in Lancaster, and seems way too young to be working at the hospital and studying for his Master’s. But what personality! What love for life!
Again and again and again, when I’m driving, I’m reminded that what makes America great is that we’re all so different, from so many different places and backgrounds and experiences. I love that about us.
I drop him off and he’s still gushing about the car, promising he’s going to buy one.
* * * * *
I’m driving for Uber and Lyft again, partially because I enjoy it, partially because I’m exploring writing a book about this experience, partially because raising six kids (all of whom seem destined for braces and expensive colleges) costs a lot of money. It’s not the most lucrative gig in the world, but I love driving and I love the stories strangers will tell you when they know they’ll never see you again.
So, here we are. I hope you’ll follow along, share the stories with your friends, and join me over at my Facebook page, Rideshare Confessional.
As always, you guys are the best. Thanks for reading and sharing and sending me encouraging notes and just generally being really good human beings.