It was early and I was tired. Running late for a flight I really couldn’t miss.
Barry, my Uber driver, was running late too.
My two suitcases and briefcase were sitting on my front porch and the sun was just beginning its journey to the sky as Barry pulled into my driveway.
Out from the car comes an elderly man complete with a pressed button down shirt firmly tucked into his kakis secured by a brown leather belt and New Balance sneakers.
“Great. I’m definitely going to miss my flight now.”
Sensing my urgency as I put my bags in his trunk and hopped in the front seat, Barry said, “I’m sensing time isn’t our friend right now, am I right?” I said yes. “Well let’s get going then, shall we?”
As conversation flowed and my occasional “back seat driver” directions slipped out, I learned a lot about this man.
He was a Tennessee native and lives in the same house his daddy bought his 50 years ago. He was a solider in the Vietnam War. He was a retired VP of finance for a chain of hospitals and spent the majority of his life in the health car industry.
I shared with him I was from a small town in central Illinois and explained my job in email marketing. I was impressed he knew and understood what a blogger was and didn’t blink twice when I told him I want to be a full time blogger one day. Appreciating this silent vote of confidence from a man I just met, he said, “You have to have something to say. Something real to say. Something people want and need to hear. That’s how you become successful.”
He’s right. This simple statement caused me to reflect on what do I have to say? What impact does my voice make?
Then the conversation turned to a place where conversations are typically advised not to go.
Politics and the state of our world.
We talked about the dissemination of the Republic party. We talked about the core value shift of our country and how technology has changed the way we communicate. And of course, the millennial generation.
“How do you feel about the changes my generation is making in the world?” I asked.
“It’s not about how I feel about it. It’s not even about how you feel about it. The world cares too much about feelings. It’s about accepting that this is the world we live in. Things are changing. They always have. But finally, after centuries of time, we are all becoming one people.”
I was really taken aback by that. One people? But we are all at war with each other? We worry about being politically correct and fair. We care about rights and respect more than ever. We go to war over bathroom signs. How are we one people?
He continued, “We are finally beginning to see each other. Different races, different religions, different beliefs, different cultures. It’s taken time and it will take more. But the internationalization of the world has deeply impacted the way we think, behave, and make decisions.”
I agreed. I agreed without even realizing I agreed.
Barry then said this, “The fact that you are a twenty-something female that can hop on a flight and be across the country in a few hours has changed the world. The ability to travel has changed the world. Every time you visit a new place or experience a new culture, it changes you. Let it. The more you see and understand the world, the more we begin to accept each other.”
Our banter continued as we discussed the changes in health care and American culture as a whole, going back and forth with our thoughts and opinions. Pulling up to the departure terminal, he pulled to the side and got out to pop the trunk. As I grabbed my bags, he stopped and turned towards me.
Out stretched his hand for me to shake. “Thank you for talking with me. I know it probably wasn’t like your normal Uber rides. But I’m glad we met.”
“Me too, Barry. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.”
He smiles and walked towards the car, waving goodbye. I waved and walked inside.
Walking through the airport, Barry’s words sunk in. He was right.
Travel has changed the world. It effects you. It chips away at your prejudices and harsh opinions towards others. Especially international travel. Experiencing new cultures and how people live their daily lives really can change you.
And over time, you realize that we are all the same. We all struggle. We all fight wars. Wars between nations and wars within ourselves. We all love. We all have dreams.
The world is changing. And I’m proud to be apart of a generation that is disrupting the workplace and changing laws.
With these changes though, comes negativity. We can choose to join in, or we can choose to be the light. Be the light this world needs. The more of this world I see, the more I choose to be a light.
And the more I feel at peace with the work God is doing in my life and the world around me.