I have always enjoyed conversations with unknown people, be it waiting for my flight at the airport or meeting a new group at a friend’s wedding. I feel everyone has a story to share and each one of us have various perspectives on life which are super interesting. I remember my mom telling me the other day that as a kid, I would start conversing with foreigners and end up trading coins with them for my coin album. I was not surprised to hear that as I am still in touch with some of my travel friends. I believe each person can teach us a lot in such less time and some individuals have pretty crazy/hilarious stories.
Since I moved to the Bay area, I have been using public transportation a lot, which essentially means I have been taking Uber and Lyft rides frequently, as the train frequency is very less to the city. However, the day I own a car, I will miss all my fun Uber stories. So, here, I am presenting some of them.
- The most Generous driver:- I saw a tip box as I entered from the back gate of the car. I wondered what could it be since there is a system of tip for all services in the US, I was not sure if it was expected for me to give a tip for my ride. My curiosity rose and I asked the driver about the box, he told me he bought sandwiches from the collection of the tip box and gave it to the homeless. This touched my heart and I asked him why does he do this? He said the look and the smile on people’s face when I give them to eat or provide them with a kit cannot be compared. He is such an inspiration. He is a boy from Brazil, driving in the US, and he sends his money back home so his parents can build a house.
- Addition to my currency album, the giver:- It was a 15-minute drive in Seattle, I asked the driver on how was his day going, and then our small talk began. He told me he was from Morocco, as we passed a Moroccan restaurant and showed it to me. We started talking about the visa system and he told me that he received his PR in a few weeks that he was here through a diversity visa. I was amazed and I asked him if I could see what the card looked like, he showed it to me, and at the same time, a Morrocan bill slipped from his wallet. I remembered it was a currency I did not have in my currency album, I asked him if we could exchange it. To my surprise, he said why don’t you keep it. As I answered his question, I arrived at my location. All of it happened in a hurry, and I got down with the bill. I wondered how could I send him the exchange and I ended up sending him a tip a little more than the exchange rate:)
- Learning Languages:- A common question asked by the Uber drivers are “Where are you from?” When I say Nepal, some think of it to be a part of India, while some know that it is one of the countries that Britishers never ruled. The man who was my driver that day was the latter one. He studied and taught different languages and asked me how many languages could I speak. My answer was three but I added that I would love to learn more. It was a long drive so he proposed to teach me a bit of Spanish. He asked me to repeat after him and I learned some basic Spanish words by the end of the drive:)
- The Philosophies Of Life:- Sharing the same principles towards life, builds connection fast. We started talking about the weather and were smiling how people around us complained that the day was super hot. We discussed how it has become a habit to whine even if there are so many beautiful things that we are surrounded by. In short, both of us were giving gratitude to the beautiful day and the healthy happy life that we were living.
- The Podcast boy:- Our conversation started with the podcast that was being played in the car, and it was followed by a list of different podcasts I should listen too:)
- Lessons on driving:- Before I got my driver’s license, I would notice the skills of the person driving and ask questions if need be. There was this one time the uber driver gave me some tips and tricks of passing the test and also proposed that he could drive me to the farthest DMV which had seats available for the driving exam.
- Visa problems:- There are many people going through different visa problems in the US. I met a driver from Nepal, and he was telling various stories on how people want to settle in the US and the different approaches they try. He is married but his wife and the entire family are in Nepal. Their visa hasn’t been approved yet.
- Mexican girl:- I met Briana at the Caltrain station at Hayward. She is from Mexico and she is the founder member of the app called Signamy. This app translates Sign Language using Ai and ComputerVision, combined with animation to help understand sign language. She is such an inspiration to be starting something for a set of people who she doesn’t have a personal experience with. You can watch the videos for the product.
- The Vent Out session:- Usually all uber drivers are experienced and know how to use Uber/Lyft applications. There are only a few who are new and struggle to add a passenger. This happened once when I was the first passenger on a Shared Lyft ride and the driver mentioned that it was his second day as a driver. He then started telling me his story on how he worked hard on his dad’s business, and it never worked out for him at the end. He said how he wanted to take his life in a relaxed manner and he chose driving to interact with different people.
- The Afghani boy:- There are plenty of good things in the US, but what are the things that you miss about your place asked the Uber Driver. I did not have a list as he did, but I said, I miss my work and the people. To this, he started with his list of how he did not like being here. Even if this place has opportunities, he missed riding his horse to fetch water from another side of the village. He was from a village in Afghanistan.
- The Smart One:- One of the constant discussions is how expensive living in the Bay area is. This Uber driver was intelligent to give his home for rent, and move to an apartment a little farther away 20 years back. The rent from his previous home paid the mortgage of his new home and today he lives in his second home.
These are some interesting stories, but there have been times when the driver has left without any reason after I waited for 15 minutes after calling for a shared car ride. Just recently I was asked to lower my volume by the driver while I was speaking on my phone as it distracted him. These are all part and parcel of these Uber rides.