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  • Josh Verrill

A Short Ride to Paddington

“Are you from America?”

¼ of the way through my first coffee at 5:45AM local London time, all I could come up with was “Ahh, Yea”.  Back to my coffee, back to The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

Side note: The Greatest Showman is currently one of my daughters favorite movies so whenever I am on the road, listening to it, connects me to her.  Don’t judge.  Bonus, it’s very motivational.

Anyway, back to the ride.  “I had a feeling you were from America because of your passenger rating”.

Ok, headphones off, music paused, coffee cup to my lips. When was the last time I checked my passenger rating?

My response, “ohh boy, is it that bad?”.  Even before his answer, it hit me, I had presumed that his assumption that I was American, because of my passenger rating, meant that it was bad.  Why had I done that?  We’ll come back to this but his answer spun me in a whole different direction.  “No, mate, quite the opposite, not sure when the last time I saw a 4.88 passenger rating was.  Americans always seem to have higher ratings than others.  Well, accept the Chinese, they are very nice”.  A couple things hit me right there:

  • I am doing something right, Uber drivers seem to like me at least

  • Negativity is slowly overshadowing good, and even myself, whom many would describe as a very positive person, can get sucked in

He was from Romania, had been in London for 7 years and was telling me that he likes London, but misses home.  But then when he is home, he quickly misses London.  Funny how life is.

Amidst the small talk I mentioned that “Yea, we have our own challenges back home.  Too much negativity in our politics, way too much.”  With that he assumed that “you must not be a Trump fan”.  And that one made me pause, just slightly.  I’m always cautious when asked this question because ultimately, whether I voted for him or not, he’s our president, we need him to be successful, we need to want him to be successful, regardless of which side of the isle we sit on.   My answer, “I think we’re capable of better”.

Thinking we were just going to leave it there, I started to get lost in that thought.  Then he pulled me back “oh yea, how so?”.

Reminder: It’s now 5:51AM local London time, I have still not finished my cup of coffee and my brain is now working harder than it thinks it should be.

“I guess in all aspects of life.  Taking care of those who would sacrifice anything to live amongst us, respecting the rest of the world and caring for those that need help, recognizing that no matter how it’s happening, this planet is changing and that we’re the only living organism that has the intellectual capacity to do something about it.  That, and I am sure a lot more”.   The last words had just escaped my mouth as we pulled down a ramp, made a quick U turn and I realized I had arrived at Paddington Station.

“Yea man, I hear you, so true.  Well, safe flight, cheers.”

All, in less than 12 minutes.

As the conversation sunk in and I diagnosed my answers, I recognized a few things.

The first: I had answered his question about “how so?” from an American point of view and yet he had heard it as a “human” point of view.

Second: while we didn’t sit down and discuss in depth over a coffee (coffee stayed on the brain for some time), we felt similarly about macro issues.  He was from Romania, where I have never been, lived in London, where I have only visited and was agreeing with someone who has spent their life in southern, NH.  Could we have found areas where we disagreed, certainly, but in principal we agreed.

Finally, “goodness” knows no bounds.  He had gladly accepted my ride because of my 4.88 rating, a rating that I have earned because I always treat my drivers with respect, the way that I would hope to be treated.

When all was said and done, I came to rest on this:

As an Individual, I can do better As Americans, we can do better As Humans, we must do better

The world is a small place and so many of us want the same things.  Strip out the negativity and what you have is a majority of people who really want to make something special, something better, of the future.

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