I THINK I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR JUST THE RIGHT TIME to begin writing again. Waiting for the right person, incident or occasion to tell a story. Maybe it’s New York, and I’m surrounded by stories every day, thousands of them—and they don’t feel like stories anymore, but pure white noise.
I want to share something beautiful that happened to me last week. I’d worked a late night and arrived home exhausted at 1am, only to catch a few hours of sleep before going back to work at 7:30am. That morning I requested an Uber taxi to take me from my apartment in Brooklyn to my office in Manhattan, and within minutes there was a yellow cab waiting outside, driven by a person I won’t soon forget.
The cabbie’s name was Wurie. He greeted me enthusiastically, asked me how I was, and told me of the long shift he had ahead of him. He’d been driving cab for ten years now, working 16 hour days to support his wife, two children and one on the way. His days off were used to help mend the house, which became disheveled in his long absences, and repair his relationships in the same manner.
Wurie counseled me for the duration of the 40-minute cab ride. His optimism was astounding — it seemed he held few burdens despite his hard times in New York, brushing off the bad and polishing it to carry forward, forgiving, believing in good.
“When I’m driving and someone gives me the finger I say, are you kidding me! And I laugh. I say man, I am not trying to upset you. I have no bad feelings toward you. I am just trying to get to where I need to go, and you’re in my way! That’s it. We are all trying to get somewhere.”
When we pulled up to my office on crowded 3rd avenue, horns honking from traffic trying to pass, Wurie parked the car, stepped out and opened the door for me. I turned to wave goodbye, still smiling from our exchange, graciously glowing Goodbye, Wurie! Thank you! Goodbye…