Home in the Back Seat

BY VADIVU GOVIND
Jan 26, 2011

A homeless taxi driver in Singapore opens up to an open heart.



354 Sacred moments amidst the ordinary. (Photo credit: Yangchen Lin)

 

Today my taxi driver said he’s homeless. Yes, homeless.

He told me his life story after I shared mine with him. He said if he didn’t have hope, he wouldn’t be in the world.

I told him about my own vision to help us all become happier here and he told me:

How can we? How can we when everyone is the same – unhappy? When people don’t help us?

However, by the end of the ride, he said, “I hope I see you in the newspaper one year from now!” And he made a joke. So we ended with a laugh.

As I walked away from the taxi, the tears welled up in my eyes – a mixture of sadness and joy at having had that moment of Connection with my new friend. How we had connected was what I am hoping for more in Singapore.

What I could do in those 20 minutes was give him a safe space for him to share the intimate details of his life story, offer him some help and share a laugh or two.

I often get told negative things about taxi drivers, their driving, etc. And I have experienced this too. But how about shifting to seeing them as someone with a story we don’t know yet? All of us have a story which makes us the way we are. You have one too…

You may also wonder if he was telling me the truth. Sometimes people would say that to me when I shared with them about the plight of migrant workers in Singapore. “How do you know they’re not lying to you?”

Well, I don’t know for sure in all circumstances. But I use my heart and inner compass to listen carefully and make a decision to trust when appropriate.

Where your heart and inner compass guide you to, would you consider connecting with your taxi driver? Would you give them a listening ear?

Where your heart and inner compass guide you to, would you consider connecting with your taxi driver? Would you give them a listening ear? Maybe you’ll be in my friend’s cab and you can give him the gift of Connection, even if it is just talking about something small in his life.

Listening – to the details of another person’s life story – can be sacred. In fact, these are the true sacred moments in our lives, quietly glistening amidst the ordinary.

I have a comfortable bed to sleep in tonight and my new friend doesn’t. I dedicate Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise” to him but really, the message is for us who are seated in our fairly comfortable homes and may sit in his cab next.

Oh! Think twice/’Coz it’s another day for you and me in paradise

 

This post was originally published on Happiness.sg in January 2011.