Thomas had natural charisma, the sort of personality which was instantly engaging. You wanted to spend time with the guy. The sort of man you could picture yourself with, just shooting the breeze.
He was an african american able to connect within moments of meeting you. He worked at Kroger in Arlington but lived in a nearby town and would often Uber back and forth. He observed that plenty of people thought it was a long trip for such a job, but he had no problem with it. Enjoyed it. He’s just thankful to be working.
He lives in a nice neighborhood, with a beautiful house and is married with 2 children. They have a third on the way. He recently applied for life insurance, wanting to make sure that if anything did happen to him his family would be well looked after. He hadn’t realised that for his life insurance application to be accepted the company would send a representative around to his house so they could meet with him and his family. He’s not sure why they do this, but spent part of the Uber journey home frantically making arrangements so that his family would have time to make the meeting and finish the application.
He lives a busy life but he seems to genuinely love it. There’s no sense of falsehood with Thomas, he offers a simple and genuine connection. We laughed a great deal, telling stories that we both found humorous.
At one point we talked about when we were kids growing up. We were taught “stranger danger.” Now, judging by the amount that use Uber, we instead give kids our credit card information and ask them to call strangers who during the course of the trip will learn where that child goes to school, what time they leave and where they live. He laughed that Uber drivers are just glorified baby sitters. Sometimes he seems right.
Sometimes passengers talk just because they want to fill the awkward silence. Not Thomas. He loves it. Loves starting a friendship. Loves the connection. He has a zest for life, so although I was stuck in rush hour traffic I didn’t mind. I found myself more refreshed at the end of our conversation than before I picked him up.