7|30: Short Conversation with Strangers—what Uber rides can teach us. (Part ⅓)

Late on a Friday afternoon, I landed in NYC, where I scrambled off the plane and into an Uber; that’s where I met Bobby.

In typical New York fashion, it was bumper to bumper traffic and what proceeded was a 90-minute conversation about everything from Steve Jobs, to Amazon, to love and his recent marriage.

Bobby, in his mid-thirties, was a high school dropout who had recently gotten sober from his drug addiction. Then, working his arse off, he bought a small plot of land in his Florida hometown. Having succeeded more than he thought possible, he decided to go bigger. Thus, he set off to the Big Apple.

Rough but earnest, Bobby wasn’t necessarily knowledgeable about current events and knew almost nothing of Apple or Amazon, but he had heard of a “Steve Jobs” once before. Shocked, I delighted in educating him about the world of tech.

Did you say trillion dollars?”

“Yes, just last week they hit it.”

“Oh my lord, one-hundredth of that would make me happy.”

Although math was not his strongest suit, he meant one million dollars, which is 0.000001 (one millionth) of a trillion, and not one hundredth, but I got his point.

What he did know was women. He walked me through his many relationships and the turmoil that came with them. He ended with his now wife, who he was about to go overseas with for the first time and he was ecstatic. He then asked my age.

Looking up from my phone, I obliged. Excited at what I said, he took my answer, rightfully so, as an indication that I am terrible with women. He started to give me advice that he wished he knew years earlier.

“I fucked up a lot of relationships, with a lot of girls…and…if I’m being honest, it was on purpose. I was a selfish bastard. Selfish, selfish, selfish.”

“How’s that?”

‘Well…I would say things I didn’t mean. You know, cause you don’t want to hurt them, but I was hurting them more by lying, by pretending. You know.”

We sat silent for a few minutes, but Bobby broke the silence with a calm, well thought-out:

“All you’ve got is your word.”

Staring out the window, I nodded in agreement. Bobby, who couldn’t see my acknowledgment, made sure I understood his advice.

“Like that Steve Jobs guy, he stuck to his word didn’t he? Dinging the universe and all.”

“He certainly did.”

“Relationships are no different, you know…only say what you mean, and it will all work out alright. That’s what I do now, and I’ve now got a girl that has done right by me.”

In the words of Bobby, the Uber driver, “All you’ve got is your word.” Don’t miss use it.