Last week, the story “Some Uber People” was a surprise hit. I have heard so many stories since from our readers and friends. I realized I was not the only listening to such stories. The stories are not restricted to cab drivers. The Hair Dresser, the baker at the local bakery, the barista at a near by Starbucks, the mail man and many more everyday people. I am inspired to start a series of such stories.
I will share one such today and this one comes from my husband who was recently traveling in India. This is about a Uber cab driver who was driving him to the airport. The two of them engaged in small talks and then a question led to a story.
“Do you own this car?”
“No. I drive for someone.”
“Why don’t you buy one ? Car prices have become much more affordable now.”
“I wish. I had once thought of. But it is a long story.”
The Uber driver had come to Delhi from a small place near Allahabad, India with the dream of making it big in the city. All was well at first and then his wife was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. Diagnosis, labs, surgeries and procedures ate up all savings and brought in debts. The dreams quickly evaporated. Reality set in and it was harsh, crude and unfair. The Rs.15,000 a month from driving Uber was not enough to survive with the family in the city and pay off the debts. So he sent the wife and the daughter back to the village home where they now live with the Uber driver’s elderly parents. Living in small villages is far more affordable than living in a metro such as Delhi.
“I spend everything that I earn on the family and the debts. What I make through tips is enough for my meals for the day.”
At this point, you can start judging and say he was telling the story to make some extra bucks. We have all heard similar stories before. But for a moment if you try and put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you will realize pleading for both sympathy and money is extremely hurtful to anyone’s self respect. Be it the like of us sitting in our plush offices or be it the cab driver toiling 16 hours a day. You only do that when life draws you to extremely difficult circumstances.
To me, this cab driver is a hero. I am sure he is the hero for his family. An everyday hero. Sadly his life may just get spent in providing for his family and heroism would never get rewarded.
Another friend at Huff Post, sent me this article today. Three very similar stories to this story of mine (I am not the only one after these kind of stories). I agree with the author. The least we can do is be compassionate and sometimes lend an ear and listen to someone’s story. So next time you hail a cab, be kind and generous and if the cabbie tells you a story, hear him / her out.
I no longer sit on the rear row of the cabs. It is easier to listen in and lend a ear when a person is sitting right next to you.
Got a story about some very Uber people from your day to day life, email at email@example.com
Authored by : Piya Mukherjee Kalra