“I miss driving…”
My father is a very ill man. He’s a friendly, jolly guy who looks almost exactly like Santa Claus, but he’s had multiple heart bypasses brought on by years of bad eating and no exercise. Then, two years ago, he suffered a massive stroke. Now, Dad lives in assisted living, and he has doctor appointments around the city two to three times a week.
I don’t live in the same city, but I arrange and coordinate all of his doctor visits, and when my brothers aren’t able to drive him to them, I order a Lyft from my phone for him.
One day, Dad had an appointment with his primary care doctor. That evening, I was talking to him, and my father casually mentioned, “My driver was so nice–he’s a refugee from Somalia.” A pause, then he added, “Amy, I really want to try Somalian food.”
“Yes, Dad.” I was distracted by an incoming email from my boss.
“I miss driving!”
“I’m sorry, Dad.” Dad loved driving, and he loved people. He enjoyed road trips and loved to give rides to others. Before, he drove everywhere, but after his stroke, he wasn’t allowed to drive any more, for obvious reasons. In retrospect, he would have made an amazing Uber or Lyft driver.
Dad chattered on. “It’s OK, I told my driver I missed driving, and he drove me around town. That was so nice of him!”
Apparently, as he told me happily, Dad’s Lyft driver had driven him for more than two hours around West Seattle after he had said that he missed driving.
I was livid! I wanted to report this driver to Lyft for scamming my dad, taking advantage of his reduced mental faculty, and charging him what must be hundreds of dollars when it should have been at most a thirty-dollar pick up and drop off.
Then, I checked the receipt. It was for $21.03.
Hayaan, the Somalian refugee Lyft driver, had spent hours driving my dad around town, but had only charged him the amount he would have made just picking him up and dropping off. He could have spent the time driving other passengers and making more money. Instead, he patiently listened to my father tell him stories, talked to him, and basically made a sick old man’s day.
Hayaan’s only reward was my dad’s happiness–I will never forget his kindness and generosity.
About the artist
Paula Vrinceanu: “I am a Romanian visual artist working in this field for about 10 years now. Before this, I was a pianist: my life has always been an interesting and creative journey. I still play the piano when I have time, but now I’m focusing on visual art. I work in an advertising agency in Cluj, and at night- for few hours ( because, unfortunately, I need to sleep), I freelance and work on my own art business which I’ve started this year.