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Don’t get stuck

September 9th, 2009 · No Comments

I met a very unusual shuttle driver last Thursday.

It was time for me to bring in my car for a regular maintenance service. Like many auto repair shops, this particular auto shop provided a shuttle ride to where I worked while they worked on my car.

The shuttle driver was a lady in her fifties. There were several passengers in the shuttle. She pulled out a stack of index cards. She asked each passenger his or her destination, and pick-up time. She wrote the information on the index cards, one card for each person. Since I was sitting next to her, I noticed that she had really nice handwritings. While she was writing down the information, she got a call from from a customer who needed a pick-up. Her phone manner was impeccable. When she started driving, she took complete command of the car. She made the passengers feel safe.

Let’s put this way, she reminded me of one of those articulate writers or artists who seemed to do everything with elegance and ease.

Instinctively I felt that there must be an interesting story behind this person.

My destination was the furthest from the auto repair shop. As all of the passengers except me had gotten off the shuttle, we started an interesting conversation.

"You must be meeting a lot of interesting people everyday by doing this?" I said.

"Oh. Yeah. I definitely met a lot of interesting people. I could write a book. Actually, I could write several books."

"How long have you been doing this?"

"Eight years. I worked for another shop for six years, and then I came to work for this shop. I got a divorce 10 years ago. I was married for 33 years, and knew my ex-husband since I was 17. We had our own business for more than 30 years. I knew that something was wrong with the relationship. I should have gotten out of the relationship earlier."

"Wow. That must be hard."

"Yes. I have never worked any where except our own business. It was very hard. What am I going to do? For the first couple of years after our divorce, I lived off the settlement money. I moved fifteen times in two years. I was grieving, recovering, healing. I was seeing a therapist, a wonderful man. He helped me a lot. A friend of mine told me that there was a class in the local community that taught people how to unstuck."

"That sounds a really interesting class. How was it?"

"It was a great class. We took a number of personality test, like the Meyer-Briggs test. All of the tests showed that I had a altruistic nature. I like to help people. Also, I like to work outside. I’m not the office type. When we had our own business, I lived and worked in the wood the whole day. I’m not someone who would work in the office every day. But, I needed to find some work to do."

"I took the Meyer-Briggs test myself. I thought it was quite helpful. So, what did you do next?"

"I just believe that things would work out. I had a friend who needed to pick up her car in a car repair shop. So, I drove her there. When we got there, we learned that they needed more shuttle drivers because one of the driver just quitted. I like driving, and I like to be out there. So, I applied and started driving. It has been eight years now."

"Things did work out for you. It got quite snowy the previous two winters. I remembered that I had to hike a couple of miles to go home because the bus could make it to top of the hill where I lived. How did you handle driving in the snow? It’s quite dangerous."

"I just kept driving. Last winter when we had the big snow storm, I was driving a customer back to his house in a really wealthy neighborhood. It just started snowing when we left the auto shop. The snow just piled on. When we finally got to the customer’s house, he started worrying about how I was going to get back.

I told him not to worry. I’ll  make it. I lived 30 miles away. It was hard. I just kept telling myself I would make it. I never stopped because I knew that if I stopped, my car might stuck in the snow. I just kept going, going and going. When I got home, my brother had his boots on and was ready to rescue me."

"That’s quite a story! I can tell you are a very safe and skilled driver".

"I like driving. I like to be out there."

"You drive a lot and you have lived in this area for a long time. You must have seen a lot of changes."

"Oh, yeah. This place has changed a lot. I live in this city since 1971. Last few years, I had to move away to live with my brother. I really missed living here. So, I decide I would go shopping at one store in this area everyday. On Monday, I would go to the Trader Joe’s. On Tuesday, I would go to a small mom-and-pop shops I’ve frequented in the past. I’d go somewhere in this city every day. By Friday when I have the only day off, I would have everything I need.

Oh, did you see the blue sky, the trees, the sun. The rain just stopped. It’s beautiful. It’s so beautiful."

"It’s beautiful." I said.

"You know, it’s beautiful. We’ll be okay. My mother uses to say to us — ‘Don’t get stuck’. She was a very wise woman. I love her. If you ever get stuck, you need to figure out how to unstuck yourself."

We arrived at the destination. I said "good bye" to her. But, I keep thinking about our conversation. I want to write down the story. I want to share with you.

Don’t get stuck.

If you ever get stuck, unstuck yourself.

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Tags: Frustration@Work · Learning and Growing

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