I have been challenged to practice and observe Kindness these past two weeks. And let me tell you, above the noise and distractions of things unkind….Kindness is out there. Everywhere! And when I have consciously, purposely offered a kindness…it has enriched me. One particular instance this past week stood out so glaringly, I felt compelled to share it. And this wasn’t an example, observation or act of Kindness. It was the absence of it that stood out. Allow me to explain.
While I am not working my business, I drive Uber in Milwaukee. It is a great opportunity, daily, to apply the lessons and principals I am working on to improve my life. I meet a couple dozen people daily I have never met before. Some are repeat customers. I challenge myself to offer a gift, or something of value in our often brief encounters. This in and of itself is sometimes difficult. But this past week presented a situation that rung my bell!
I received a ride request from a young, Indian gentlemen. We have many foreign students in our great city, that attend any one of the 4 colleges here. This particular young man explained that he needed to go to a particular building to get some help or information so that he could initiate his electricity account for his apartment. He asked if I knew about this process, or the place I was taking him to. I explained I did not, but that the person that instructed him from the Electric Company should be correct. The address was already populated in my GPS, so we drove there. Upon arrival, the young man asked if I could wait for him and return him to his place. I drew upon past experience in my head as to the “short” waits I’ve had in the past that may have cost me a better fare than the one I was “waiting” for. I stated that I could not wait, and that when he finished he could simply request another Uber. He explained that he had no more data available on his phone and looked at me pleadingly, asking “you can not please wait for me?” I said I was sorry, but no. He thanked me and stated “he would figure something out”.
My heart, my mind, my soul simultaneously sighed out of shame, guilt. I rationalized and bargained with myself…..and drove away. Waiting for this young gentleman may have cost me a better paying ride, and a few minutes of time waiting. But NOT waiting may have cost me more. I prayed for him, and am certain that he was returned to his home safely.
I carry this with me, and will not lose this opportunity again, should it present itself. I am happy for the prompting, and recognizing the lesson it has taught. A funny note…..the very next day I received another ride request from someone with the exact name. This was unusual, as it was a unique Indian name I had never seen before. I was so excited to have the opportunity to see the young man and shower kindness on him!! It was NOT him. Lesson learned.