Perth – Wednesday morning.
This Uber driver was a gorgeous young Indian man. He had a tiny pot belly and his car smelled of the familiar smells of Indian Spice. After striking up conversation he told me that this was his second job. He worked as a cleaner on the side in the morning and the afternoon. He would wake up at five to work at a nearby school before coming home for breakfast.
His wife would have a cooked breakfast of potatoes and pea curry waiting from him and his daughter. His daughter would eat eggs, “without the yellow” he told me. He informed me that it was lucky that he “didn’t mind the yellow.”
I thought two things: “How sweet” and “Cholesterol!”
He told me that his wife did all the cooking for him. His meals were perfectly prepared in the fridge so all he had to do was reheat them. He seemed to cherish and love his wife and spoke of her with a gentle fondness that was music to my ears.
He would than drive for Uber all day before heading back to his cleaning job at 3.30 and finally finish at 7pm. I learned that the girls at the school he cleaned at were the messiest girls he had ever imagined. “Oh my goodness” he stated. He told me he was shocked every day by the mess they managed to accumulate in less than 12 hours. Papers everywhere, fingerprints on the glass, the desks were coloured in and the toilets were in a state. I shared how in Japan the children would spend an hour cleaning before going home at school. He liked that idea very much. Ha. So do I.
I am going to be implementing some Japanese culture in my house let me assure you!
By the time we got to our destination I was enamoured with this gentle, humble Indian man who worked tirelessly with great joy for his family. As he helped me grab my bag he told me in the most childlike fashion how much he had “really loved” our talk and he had had “a really lovely time.” I was genuinely touched. I sensed genuine contentment and an innocent childlike happiness in him and I was so refreshed. He had made my day.
Thursday – Uber Ride to the Airport
I’d spent the morning washing, cleaning and packing for my trip home to Brisbane, to my man. I felt rather sorry for myself as I lugged my huge luggage down the stairs one at a time, pushing away angry thoughts that my husband wasn’t there to help me. Of course it isn’t my fault for overfilling my suitcase with God knows what. I’d been to the Red Cross shop okay. Technically I was helping the poor and needy by buying half the store.
Out of my Uber leapt a skinny, 50 something year old lady with short orange hair, trumpeting a great Australian “G’day” with an undeniable Aussie twang. The kind that you expect from a Bundaberg local. I greeted her back and before I could turn around she had heaved my heavy luggage in the back with her skinny arms without breaking a sweat and in the same moment was bounding energetically into the front seat.
Okay so maybe my suitcase wasn’t that heavy after all, and my anger at my husband who wasn’t even in the same state at the time, was slightly irrational. Maybe.
As we sped toward the city my Uber Driver talked nonstop. I didn’t need to ask a single question. I heard all about her life, her opinion on roadworks, the weather, and her friends who lived in Bundaberg. Whom she visited frequently (I knew it!).
She had moved here originally to work for her friends who had started up a company and expanded to Perth. She managed the Perth sector of their business. However the owners of the company decided to close business and start a Burger Business in Bundaberg and she went into Uber driving. She remained close to them however and told me she visited them, frequently in Queensland’s ‘Bundy.’
She told me that she now worked for Uber, Ola and Lyft. She would drive for all three companies and take the job that was offered to her next and when she took that job would turn off the other two. So she was never out of work.
How smart is that?
Woman. Gosh we have some bright ideas.
She told me, that she loved Perth, except for the constant roadworks. I guess Uber drivers would have a love hate relationship with roadworks. It slows you down short term, but it makes your life far easier in the long term picture. She also hated the rain. Western Australia, unlike Queensland and NSW, was certainly not in a drought, illustrated by the blinding bright green of the world around.
I loved her constant, easy and friendly banter, which was a few decibels louder than it needed to be. I settled into that easy conversation where I would give one worded agreement to her statements and stories, letting her words roll over me. There was such genuine friendliness about her. She seemed like the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back if you asked. Didn’t seem to overthink anything. Those kind of people are the DNA of Australia.
My Dad calls them the ‘salt of the earth’ kind of people.
Hardworking, generous Australians who are resourceful, friendly and keep life simple.
As we pulled up to the Qantas terminal she bounded out of the car and seconds after had my luggage at my feet before I even had time to undo my seatbelt. Not bad for a 50 year old! Waving me an energetic goodbye as she scurried of to her next Uber/Ola or Lyft, she left me smiling.
Perth Uber drivers. Thank you. You have been a highlight and a Joy. And a beautiful representation of the Great Australian People.
Until next time!
You are deeply loved and richly cherished,
The Healthy Hiccup