I was heading home in a late night Uber. My driver, Moses, mentioned he was from Uganda. I professed my deep love and appreciation for African people. His eyes got wide and he smiled and asked me why? Hmmm good question…I guess, because most of those that I had met had overcome great adversity and struggles and it had become woven into the fabric of who they were. There was so much pride and work ethic and respect and dignity and I just felt a connection, no explanation beyond that. I guess this answer released something in Moses because he pulled over a half a block from my house and spent 22 minutes telling me his story. He grew up in a village and no one had a vehicle. When his mother was ready to deliver him they had to bike over to another town to find someone with a car to return and bring her to the hospital. They were too late and he was born in the field. He told me about their extreme poverty and how he had no shoes and when there were special occasions his mother would go to the neighbour to borrow shoes from a boy named George. And then he cried and said he wished he could find George to thank him.
I was on the subway coming home from downtown. There was a young Mexican male sitting behind me named Adrian. A burly older gentleman got on at Bathurst. He had a loud, booming voice almost like a drill sergeant. He asked the younger guy if he could sit and then I heard them in deep conversation for 10 mins. The drill serg had 20 questions – where is your family? Where do you work? How were your holidays? I was impressed with his ability to make conversation. When he got off at Jane I turned to the young guy and said ‘wow, that was impressive’! ‘I know’ he beamed… he went on to tell me how special it made him feel and how Xmas really brings out the best in people. We were laughing and taking selfies and when I turned around everyone was smiling at us. Yes, that’s how you connect with strangers lol. Most of us got off at Royal York and as I walked up the escalator two young guys standing beside me smiled and said ‘have a great holiday’ awwww I love these moments!
Lily and I were on a packed Queen bus, heading towards Yonge when I heard the commotion. Two black women, one in her thirties, another in her fifties, were storming towards the back of the bus, loudly proclaiming their disdain for the driver. I couldn’t hear the exact problem, but the younger woman was raging about a lack of customer service. Normally I shy away from outbursts on the ttc but I’m passionate about this topic. Our eyes met and I nodded in solidarity. “I don’t understand why people get into customer service, when they aren’t good with people” I shared. She emphatically agreed. “HELL YA”. She went on to explain that she asked the driver to lower the bus for her friend who had a bad back but the driver sighed loudly and did one little push at a time, while she kept telling him lower! “It’s one button – all he has to do is push it” she exclaimed. We were sharing our stories of frustration, and really, ttc drivers often infuriate me with their rudeness and lack of heart. Finally I said, “I love your assertive nature, it’s empowering”. She laughed and thanked me. She went on to explain that they both worked in a non-profit and they had to deal with problems every day and that they had to be tough and assertive to get their point across. Lily had jumped up initially to offer the older woman her seat, and she hugged her for the sweet gesture. As they left they gestured to Lily and said “you look like you are raising an assertive young lady also” and I must admit that I am:) Nice experience on the TTC.