You don’t expect people to be kind, but when they are it means all the difference.
I took an Uber ride today and a week ago and both times I found drivers who were kind to me. I have been having some fear of claustrophobia in tight spaces in Uber cars and it helps me relax when I can sit on the passenger side in the front seat. I always ask this before I get in the car and not every driver allows this, but when they do I tip them extra.
Why am I sharing this? To say that the goodness in others can be there if you sometimes allow yourself to be weak and vulnerable. It isn’t fun saying that I have claustrophobia but it gives the driver an understanding of my challenge and helps him decide the reasonableness of my request. Uber drivers are not alone in doing this. I had to take taxis in the city (Manhattan) at times they also let me sit in front when I asked.
If drivers don’t want to do this or feel uncomfortable with a stranger sitting beside them I just cancel the ride and they usually get paid half of the fee which is about $7. No loss. It isn’t their job to feel unsafe and I can understand I might look dangerous to some people. White men are dangerous and I don’t blame anyone who might be afraid of me. No one knows your character they can only judge you on what they see.
At the end of my ride, I give them a tip after they are gone as a thank you for this. Here is the reason that I am sharing this story with you. I am not alone in this. The Uber driver said many people have said they are claustrophobic since the pandemic, so I wonder if it’s due to anxiety or WFH or just going out less. Often how we feel is shared by others. Having the courage to be emotionally honest when appropriate helps everyone.