Last week my sister graduated from college. (YAY!) In celebration of this marvelous fact, we decided to go out on Friday night, for some dinner and some drinks. (DOUBLE YAY!)
Now, when it comes to drinking, I’m almost always the designated driver. It’s a chosen role. I’m the person you can find giggling after the first drink, telling nonsensical jokes and eating French fries after the second, and then suddenly sober and handing out waters. This past Friday however, my taxiing services were not recommended, due to the extreme lack of parking available near the restaurant and bar. Thus, we went with the second best option: Uber.
I’d never taken an Uber before, and was extremely uneducated in the procedures necessary to do so. For all I knew, you had to whisper “uber” 5 times, sing the Full House theme song, and spin in a circle to make one to appear. But after a quick lesson from a friend that uses it constantly, we were set to go, waiting outside her house for a man named Bob to show up.
We’d all had a drink at this point, and so as we waited, we were enthusiastically making up songs about Bob, all with corresponding dance moves.
When he arrived, he waved us in, looking exhausted, and asked, “Where would you like to go?”
With the address we gave him, he started to drive and a silence swept over the car as we all pondered what you discuss with a total stranger that picks you up because an app told him too. My sister cleared her throat and offered a bout of friendly conversation, including the small talk favorite, “How has your day been?”
Bob explained his long, tiring day, in a voice dripping with fatigue.
My sister tried again, “Do you have any good stories from being a driver?” she asked.
Suddenly Bob eyes lit up and his posture changed dramatically.
“Oh I’ve got some great ones!”
We all sat up, interested and slightly afraid of what he was about to say.
“This one morning, my first job was to pick up this guy from a park bench right down the street from my house. As I got closer, I saw him there, pacing, holding a 3 foot wrench in his hand!”
His voice got progressively louder as he told the story and when he delivered the first punchline we were all speechless. My mind immediately jumped to: “and then he killed me” but I quickly ruled that out, feeling confident that I was not being taxied by a frantic ghost.
Bob continued, “I thought for a second about cancelling the ride, you know, to just keep on driving, to put him in my rearview. But then I thought of my 36-year-old nephew, he’s a gang member you know. And with that in mind I thought, ‘I do not fear them! I do not fear the gangs!’”
- He judged a wrench holding book by its cover (which I mean, we probably all would have)
- He has an immense amount of bravery, so much so that it needs to be repeated.
- HE DOES NOT FEAR THE GANGS!
“So I thought you know, ‘No, I’m not going to cancel this ride, I don’t know anything about him.’ So I pulled to the side of the road and waved my hand at him. When he got in, I talked to him, looked him straight in the eye, like men do. That way he wouldn’t use his wrench on me and steal my car.”
- He decided not to judge the wrench holding book by its cover because that is wrong.
- He looked the man he was no longer judging straight in the eye because that is how you let someone know that you trust them.
- He assumed that not building this resounding trust would result in a violent outbreak and the theft of his vehicle, even though he’s not judging or assuming anything about this stranger that he’s never met.
“After a few words of small talk I said, ‘So where to?’ and the man slouched back in the chair and said, ‘Take me to the Wal-Mart’, so I did.”
This is how the story ended.
Upon its conclusion, we arrived at the restaurant and waved goodbye to Bob. We then walked into the restaurant, wildly discussing what had just taken place and debating the fate of the wrench holding man.
“So, what do you think he was going to do at ‘The Wal-Mart’”?
Since Bob was fully convinced he was in a gang (which he did not fear) it was hard to not assume the worst of old Wrenchy.
“I say he was going to rob ‘The Wal-Mart’”
But Bob the Wise also taught us not to judge, so maybe it was something more positive than that.
“Maybe he was just returning a wrench to ‘The Wal-Mart’.”
- I have no idea why Bob told us this story
- I have no idea what that man did at “The Wal-Mart”
- My first Uber experience was everything I thought it would be.