“I’m going to teach her how to love…”

I was dead tired after a long flight, and ready to crash, but the moment she drove up in a brand new Honda Civic, I picked up on Aurora’s strength and energy.

“What do you do?” I asked her as she beamed at me.

“I’m in the military,” she responded. “Staff Sergeant.” (I think she said that. Military ranks are a mystery to me–forgive my ignorance.)

“Navy?” I guessed, since it was San Diego.

“Marine Corps,” she replied, her smile growing wider. “Semper fi.”

My impression of the military is very Hollywood-driven. I vaguely have this idea that no one in the military has any time to do anything else but be in the military, since they’re either being sent to war or they’re being hazed in boot camp. Or they’re JAG lawyers, who have the coolest uniforms when they get to argue in court  every other week.

“How the heck do you have time to drive for Lyft?” I asked.

Apparently, Aurora didn’t…sleep. She claimed she needed only four hours every day. I was the last ride of her day, and she was headed home after a long day of her regular work, and driving for Lyft. She would go to bed at midnight a little bit after she got home, and wake up at 4AM to do a few rides for the commuters to the airport before starting work. If this was her at her lowest energy point, she certainly put me to shame.

“I love Lyft. I make so much extra cash a week, and I set goals for myself,” the overachiever told me. “I’m from New York and I met my husband there–” she went into a little detour of their love story. “Then, I got married, we have a three-year-old daughter, and I’m going to make sure she studies and does REALLY well. I already have schools picked out.”

“Wait, you have a three-year-old daughter too?”

“Yes. And I cook dinner for my husband every day so he has dinner when he comes home. Now, he don’t ask for it. But I do it, because I like my cooking and I hate his.” She laughed, then added confidentially, “We’re going to live well, my family and me.”


“Saving. People don’t understand how to save money in this country. It’s so simple. We work hard, and I save all our money.”

“Wow. You’re an inspiration,” I told her. I wasn’t lying.

She shook that off. “I’m gonna teach my daughter to save. And I’m gonna teach her how to work hard and study hard. But you know what’s most important, Ma’am?”

“What?” We rolled to a stop at a red light.

Aurora turned to me, and said, very softly, “Most of all, I’m gonna teach my girl how to love. And love hard.”

About the artist

Iris Hopp loves traveling and exploring the world. Her illustrations here will help you travel to the world of “Riding Up Front!”