Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Compelling Cab Ride... Influencing people wherever you are

I just love moments that are cool, you know… the ones that are supposed to happen to you all along. I call those defining moments… they are the moments you will hang onto all your life, the moments that make a difference because they influence behavior or emotion in you. After a 5-day business trip to DC for Photoshop World, (AKA PSW), I am now sitting in a restaurant at the Baltimore-Washington Airport waiting for dinner before my flight and I had to type this blog post about my cab ride. Although my hope was to fly straight into DC, the flights were ridiculously high even three weeks out, so I found a better priced flight into Baltimore/Washington International and booked it. I figured spending $170 round trip for the cab ride to and from my hotel was still better than paying $450 more for a flight into D.C.

When I got in the cab today I began a conversation with the driver trying to negotiate a deal for the ride to BWI; I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and being that I typically negotiate like a master, I thought it may work. He was entertained to say the least at my attempt to finagle a discount of at least $10 and it started up a conversation about what I did for a living. He said I struck him as a great business woman. I told him that I did makeup, hair and wardrobe for print, TV and special events and the conversation continued from there. He found out where I was from, how many kids I had, that I wrote a book, and a blog, that I am twice divorced and he even asked me which husband I liked the most, which made me laugh. This brought on a more compelling conversation, as I told him that both marriages had good things and bad, but what I could say most definitively was that I learned more lessons from the second one and had no regrets for either one, despite their negatives.

I found out he was from Ethiopia which brought on a very interesting conversation, that he was 42, and had been in America for 10 years. We talked the WHOLE way to the airport, not one silent moment; from laughing to intense conversation about psychology, goals and racism in America. I gave him a “pep talk” when I found out he went to school in his country to be a teacher. This guy was smart… VERY smart and he drove a cab. Cool thing is he has DREAMS of being a business owner, and I told him he could LIVE those dreams.  I let him know that waking up every day he could decide to be happy… to be happy that he could drive in order to support his family, to be happy he woke up with food; being from Ethiopia he knew what being without it was like. I told him to wake up every day and tell himself that he was going to be a better driver today than he was yesterday…. and to never take his mind off of his goals.

I told him that making the choice to be happy while keeping your mind on your goals, and being thankful for where you are, even if it’s not where you hope to be, will help you live out your dreams. He stopped me after I said these things and said “Shelley, you are one amazing lady, you have totally inspired me, you should be a speaker, you are SO good at this” To which I smiled and said “Well, that is MY ultimate goal, so you saying that inspires me!”
As we pulled up to the terminal he asked me if I would send him a book when it was out, and of course I said yes. He gave me his email address and helped me with my bags. He probably would have given me that discount… but I decided the ride was worth the $85 and I tipped him another $5.

The moral of this story?
Never underestimate anyone because you never know who will inspire you; or who you may inspire… you simply never know who will make an impact in your life. I encourage you to pay attention, talk to people… and listen to what they have to say. I cannot wait to send him my book and I have no doubt that he will become a business owner one day!

If you are reading this blog, Thanks Getiyek… that was a compelling cab ride!