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I couldn't help myself

Lee (not his real name), my Uber driver, picked me up this morning for my typical Friday morning drive to the airport from my hotel. I noticed his information on the Uber app and was impressed by the 4.99-star rating, I mean no one has that high a rating. When he drove up to the curb he rolled down the window and asked if I needed help getting my bag into the trunk. I was a bit put off by that, but told him “no, I’ve got this”, and I did. In his trunk were several pairs of athletic shoes, but it was clean, so it felt safe to load my suitcase in it. I’ve seen worse, trust me.

Once I got in he asked if I was all settled and then said he needed one minute then we’d be on our way. As we drove through the neighborhood I noticed he was listening to a sports channel, which is very common in Philadelphia – professional sports dominate that town. He asked if I was okay with him listening to it and my response was SURE, I have no problem listening to the intricacies of football or baseball or basketball. I asked him who was playing this weekend and we both chuckled – the Eagles were playing Dallas – the team everyone loves to hate – and we agreed on that point.

He asked me where I was from. I told him I live in a pro-sports desert, that in Virginia we have none. Many folks favor Washington due to its close proximity, or Baltimore for the same reason, then we have a preponderance of folks who are Dallas fans. That’s when we laughed together about how hated that team is. He told me he loved sports and had played basketball in high school, and that he really admired all athletes, especially football players.

He asked me what I did in Philly, and whether or not I had kids. That kind of interest from an Uber driver is not typical. He was so at ease talking to me and was a real, natural communicator. It was like we were starting a friendship.

I asked him how long he had been driving Uber, he said for a year. He had previously been an account rep for a car repair company and had been laid off due to COVID. He also offered that he was looking for something more steady than driving Uber. And wasn’t sure what it was he wanted to do or what kind of job he could get. That was all the opening I needed to go all in, I couldn’t help myself. I went into full coaching mode.

I asked him what brought him joy, what did he enjoy doing? He took his time answering the question, then came back with a stroke of confidence unlike any I’d heard from him till that moment. He loves to write. His degree is in communications, and he loves to write about anything. And he said he’d love to write about sports. I asked him why he didn’t do that. His answer, which took him some time to consider, was that he didn’t think he had it in him. That he didn’t get much encouragement from his parents and that he hadn’t ever considered it as a profession.

And he said he couldn’t figure out why he thought so negatively about his abilities. Well, you can imagine the questions that came to my mind. Limiting beliefs, internal negative dialogue, and real possibilities were the topics for the rest of the ride. I told him I was a life coach and that it is my dream to help people like him realize their full potential. That I get SO MUCH out of helping people realize their dreams.

He was pumped – he thanked me for the encouragement and suggestions. He said he’d never had a conversation like this one. He thanked me for asking him the questions he never gave himself the time or consideration to answer. And he had the biggest, most beautiful smile you’ve ever seen on his face when dropping me off. I left his car smiling too, because

I’m sure that one day I’m going to see that guy on TV or on some screen somewhere commenting on basketball or football showing the world his smile and his natural ability to communicate. Writing will get him there, and give him the confidence to speak before a camera or audience the way he did in his car with me. Trust me, I’ll be keeping an eye out for his byline and his TV personality!

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