Thankful Uber Clients

Thankful Uber clients. The pumpkin spice minivan.

“You’re going to hear me say something you weren’t expecting to come out of my mouth,” I said to the Circle K clerk. She looked up from the cash register with a blank but curious expression. She said, “Okay.” Then I said, “The women’s restroom toilet is clogged.”

There was an eye roll and a laugh followed by her explanation. “He’s fixing the Men’s room right now because that one is clogged.” Obviously, that’s why I was using the Women’s room. When you’re on the road and working for the Rideshare community, there’s no time to honor the labels.

I bought my coffee and I turned around to ask her, “Hey, it’s Thanksgiving Week. Give me one thing you’re thankful for.” She jumped on it without hesitation, like a good morning show sidekick. “I’m thankful this shift is over in 14 minutes and someone else gets to deal with the plumber.” I smiled, wished her a Happy Thanksgiving, and started walking to the automatic C-store doors. Then she said, “I’m thankful for this job!”

During the next few days of driving, I posed the thankful question to a few of my clients. “You can’t say ‘family’ or ‘health’ unless it’s dramatic…. and then I want to hear all about it,” were my rules for the answers.

Mary was thankful for her garbage disposal after it had been broken for a week. Her young son was thankful for his dog. Editor’s note: all the names of these riders have been changed. I think.

Thankful Uber clients. Not a real airline.

I picked up a writer at the airport and he was thankful for his travel sponsor. The sponsor doesn’t get much promotion from the arrangement, but he believes in the work the writer is doing and wants him to travel to get the content.

John was thankful for college football. When I looked in the rearview mirror and asked why, he said, “Because I want it to be good to justify the time I spend watching it. Less guilt.” That’s a transparent answer.

Susan travels a lot for her job and when I picked her up at 5:45 a.m., she was thankful for the convenience of modern travel. Without it, she would be doing something else and said, “It might be more fulfilling, but maybe it wouldn’t.”

Along with the Circle K clerk, there were two other people thankful for their jobs. One worked at a chain pizza restaurant and the other, a Caribbean immigrant, in housekeeping at a hotel. Their perspective was something like, “If I didn’t have this job, I don’t know how I would make it.”

Rick was getting ready to move to Montana for a life-changing job at a ranch. Nashville was eating his soul one drink at a time and he was tired of living with his friends just to survive. “If this didn’t come along, I’m not sure if I will be here to talk about it this time next year.”

Bobby used the health category. “This better be good,” I said. Well, it was. He was walking his two large dogs one night when they went in opposite directions to chase a cat. It twisted him around and he broke a leg. The worst part came during his recovery when a pulmonary embolism developed in his lungs and the doctors were concerned about his survival. So what was he thankful for? Uber. It’s how he got around for a while. Perspective.

Thankful Uber clients. Socks. Not the brand referred to in this story.

My favorite response to the thankful question came from Kevin. He sat in the front seat and started quizzing me about my favorite movies before I could launch into my agenda. He thought about it for a minute and said, “Quality socks.” I smiled and fist-bumped him for having a beautiful answer. He took it a step further to promote his preferred brand: Darn Tough Socks.

Katherine is moving to Nashville from New York City. We talked about the fears of moving our cheese for the risk of a new opportunity. When I asked the thankful question, she said, “It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m going to be thankful for my own washer and dryer. No more sharing the machines in the apartment building.”

As we move into the giving season, think about the people, situations, animate objects, modern conveniences, and cultural festivities we enjoy. Then be thankful and ask ourselves, “What would it be like without a disposal, or football, or modern travel, or good socks?”

Would life continue without those categories? Yes. The point is for us to seek gratitude in all areas and seasons of life, not just the big categories of family and health. Small thanks matter. I’m thankful for those riders who shared with me. I’m more thankful for those C-store restrooms at just the right time.

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn on November 22, 2023.)

Ron Harrell

Ron Harrell

Ron Harrell is a contemporary media consultant specializing in brand analysis, strategy, execution, and talent coaching for radio and audio mediums. Connect for a No Cut & Paste review.

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