Sunday, June 08, 2008

688. Proud

Last Wednesday morning--the morning after Obama became the Democratic nominee--I was in a taxi, late to a meeting.

"How are you this morning?" asked the driver.

I forced myself to be polite; I am never OK, or in the mood to talk, when rushing somewhere at 6:45AM.

"Just fine, thanks, and you?" I answered.

"I'm great." he said. "My son just got accepted to Cornell Medical School!"

I woke up. "Wow," I said. "Congratulations!"

And then, all the way down Fifth Avenue, he told me how his daughter was about to graduate from law school and go into criminal justice, and how they both studied too much. But even though he always encouraged them to go outside and play, they loved to learn and made their own decisions about what they wanted to do with their lives. And how he took a second job as a taxi driver to pay for it.

"They're amazing kids," he said.

"Because of you, I'm sure," I answered."

"Oh no, no! All I try to do is teach them to be good people. They do the rest themselves."

I gave him as big a tip as I could muster, and imagined it in an envelope en route to the Cornell bursar's office. All morning long I thought about the man who had at least a 50% chance of becoming president, and of every other person in this country, including myself, who found success not because of money or privilege, but rather parents who sacrificed everything to make sure their kids had a good life. I am not always proud to be an American, but was last Wednesday.


Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

This is definitely a moving story.

Maybe I should be more friendly with cab drivers and hear their stories. I wonder how typical it is, you know?

alto artist said...

Thank you. At least in NYC, I think most cab drivers, especially immigrants (i.e., 98% or so of them) have lives richer than their passengers can ever imagine. Or those lives were once rich, before they came here to struggle to make a living. (Not that I want to hear all these stories at 6:45AM. But a few are welcome!)


Regina said...

Thanks for this, aa... it reminds one to be appreciative for all the good things in life.