People’s energy varies. It varies from person to person, from day to day, and probably from microsecond to microsecond. This particular young woman was a delight to meet, and I enjoyed her company tremendously.
I could hug her!
Next up, my rider is in Baltimore County, right at the edge of the city. I’m in a neighborhood of same-same, single-family, large red-brick houses; I think they were built in the ’30s or ’40s. I wait. I see that her rider rating is 4.5 (out of five) stars. I start to have judgements. Maybe I’ll give her four stars for being a few minutes late.
She gets in my car. Another front-seat sitter! She’s 22, Black, bright-eyed, plump in a healthy-looking way and pretty enough. Within minutes of meeting her I love her! Her voice! Her grit! Her values and ethics. Her humor and perspective.
She works at an assisted-living/independent-living home. She chose this job because the work pays more than many menial jobs for someone out of high school with no experience. I ask: $12/hour. $14 if you have some experience.
She thought this was something she’d like to do long term but has decided against it. The family that runs the business is Muslim, and there is no upward mobility for an outsider as the only people they hire beyond the service staff are family members. Two sisters, three cousins, a brother, the mother … the list goes on.
My passenger has been working since she was 15 and since graduating has always tried to have at least two jobs.
She’s grateful that she doesn’t have to change any diapers and that the people (two now, it used to be three) are all fairly independent. What do you do? She mostly cooks meals for them, gives them meds and cleans up around the house a little.
She takes her job seriously, and she wants the residents to be happy. If they want breakfast at 11 a.m., she’ll make it for them. Some of her coworkers tell her that she shouldn’t bother; just make them a hot dog, they tell her.
She tells me—laughing and rolling her eyes—that she does not feel appreciated and that the people she cares for are mean and cranky. It comes out in the conversation that these people have no family. Or no family that can be found. From what I deduce, the residents must be in some sort of welfare program for the elderly.
Yes, the Muslim family gets a big check from the state each month. They don’t own the home where they operate the facility. It’s a rental. Their business operates more than 20 such homes in the area.
At 22, she’s already told her mother, Don’t ever put me in a home like that. Just kill me. Her mother’s mother died a few months prior, and her mom is now dealing with the estate, the lawyers, the hassle. She and her mother are looking into starting a daycare center, a family business that they can run together.
I share my Nerium business contact card with her and lightly suggest she look at it with her mother. Perhaps there is something there for her. If she is willing to commit to it for the long haul. No pressure. An opportunity if it calls to her.
I take her home. I find in talking to her that she is the kind of person I’d be honored to have as a friend. I like her intensely.
Key experience: Judge not.
Photo by Alex Harvey.