I have been driving people around for a while now. It’s not an uncommon situation: When someone asks me what I’m doing at night/on the weekends, I’m driving to make money. June saw me with no car and no extra cash for things. Needless to say, things were, and are still, a little tight.
That’s why I found myself driving around trying to get to my monetary goal on Saturday night.
My last ride of the night was a young man in relative terms. I don’t often work the drunk crowd; it’s my scene and I’d rather be the person drinking, not the DD. Anyways, this guy is slightly wobbly and I’m like this is going to be a really irritating ride. I picked the young man up; he was headed to the opposite of the Harbor. His first comment was, “Take whatever route gets us there.”
In the following 20 some minutes, I found out a lot about my passenger. Former Marine and he was dealing with a heartache. His girlfriend of several years had a skewd view of a relationship. We both agreed that a relationship is about spending time with each other. On top of that, he had started setting up roots for their future. He had moved to the area, bought a house, and had a decent job…He wanted the works everyone over 30 is supposed to want. After serving his country and doing several tours, he deserved that.
What pissed me off was here was someone who had fought for our country who deserved to have his dreams come true. Four years and newly single when all he wanted was to be happy with the person he saw his future with. We kept talking about how nice it would be to have someone to come home to after a long day who loved you. Her argument was that he seemed like he wanted Little Suzy Homemaker. After talking to him, I didn’t get that impression at all. Of course this was only over 20 minutes of talking to this guy while he was slightly intoxicated.
As an Uber Driver, what gets talked about in the car is supposed to die there, unless it’ an argument with the top dog of the company. However, this guy’s story stuck with me all weekend. I wanted to say something prolific about how we treat veterans like crap. I have seen so many homeless vets and vets like my dad who hasn’t had anything good happen in couple years. Maybe it’s my guilt of not being there for my dad right now, or when he needed me a few years ago. I haven’t gotten past what I didn’t do when it would have been so easy to just help, and now it’s way too late to do anything about it. Whatever it is, this young man’s story had me wanting to end my shift and grab drink just to continue the conversation. I don’t get many passengers like that.
If you have military personnel in your life or know any military personnel, please say “Thank you” and hug them. Start a conversation with them and see how they are truly doing AND LISTEN TO THEM. Take them out for a nice day out and remind them the positives of what they have/are fighting for. Help with what you can, even if it’s babysitting so they can have some time with their partners. Most importantly, love them.
Listening to: “Lydia” by Highly Suspect
Reading: “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik
Quote of the Day: “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ― Vince Lombardi