Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
I always sit up front when I get a Lyft ride, both because I get carsick in the back but also because it is easier to converse. And conversing with my Lyft drivers is often a highlight of my trips. In fact, when I rent a car, I lament the fact that I don’t get to meet as many folks as I would if I were relying on rideshares to get around. My time getting driven from Point A to Point B almost always yields some interesting observations and conversation. This morning’s ride was no exception.
Scott Kingsbury starts his shift as a Lyft driver at 4 am every morning. Lucky for me, since I needed a ride to the airport before 6 am and it occurred to me – too late – that there may not be many drivers out and about wanting to take me there. Scott and I started chatting about how long he’d been driving (six years) and what brought him to Salt Lake City (his wife’s job as an executive with Deloitte & Touche). He said he enjoys doing this in his retirement because it gives him friendships in fifteen to twenty-minute increments. I love that perspective and that pretty much sums up how I feel about the experience as a passenger.
In our 18-minute ride to the airport, I learned that Scott was an Anglican priest at St. Mary’s of the Angels church in Hollywood, California. He left the ministry when his wife was given the opportunity to work in Hyderabad, India. They moved there for what they thought would be a one-year adventure and ended up staying for four years. Scott and I talked about how life-changing it is to live in a different part of the world. “It really changes your perspective,” Scott says. “I learned a lot about the world.”
On this trip, I also had a driver who spoke no English – really not one word. And it had me thinking about how hard it must be to get around but also how great that he can do this job with all of the important communication happening on the app. And I had a driver who left a husband who made her feel bad about herself and is now with a man who makes her feel beautiful inside and out. And then today there was Scott, the first person I have met – and am likely to ever meet – who was a member of a gospel bluegrass band in India called the Banjara Hillbillies!
It never ceases to amaze me how many interesting stories and lives intersect with ours every day. It is true that not all those intersections are good ones, and I have had some drivers who make even a 20-minute ride feel like an eternity, like the guy who blasted conservative talk radio the whole way or the woman who told me I couldn’t drink my soda in her car while there were remnants of her snacks and drinks all over it. And it is also true that even the pleasant encounters could yield significant areas of disagreement if the conversations were not cut short. Scott could turn out to be someone who thinks Trump is doing a bang-up job or who believes, as one of my drivers once did, that medicine is overrated and I should have let God cure me of my cancer.
But good or bad, it is all interesting. I love meeting people and learning about their lives and discovering things I did not know or even contemplate before…like a gospel blue grass band in India!
So here’s to enjoying the many ways we can connect in this world.