All people are looking for, is a little respect and recognition; 4 steps to getting more from life.
Our Los Angeles shuttle driver looked bemused, after we had greeted and thanked our hotel porter, in Mexican.
“I thought you guys were from South Africa. Where did you learn Mexican?” He asked.
“Right here, in LA.” I answered.
“How long have you been here”, he asked.
“Two days”, I answered.
“Well, that is incredible! I’ve been here 45 years, and you know more than I do.” He shook his head in amazement, as we set off towards Hollywood Boulevard.
As we traveled down the road, we spoke of our journey through the USA, and how a little respect had built some great friendships. When we arrived in New York, we were guided to Pennsylvania station by a lady – suitcases loaded with South African wine. She was incredibly gracious and kind.
At Penn. station we boarded our first unmarked taxi, to our first rather scary Manhattan hotel. We asked the taxi driver where he was from and what his name was. “Hamid” – he responded, “and I am from Morocco. Where you from?”
“As salaamu alaikum Hamid.”
“Wailakum as salaamu.” he responded.
We greeted and found out how each other were, as we travelled through the busy New York traffic. We found out how long he had been in New York, where his family was and lots of other really human info. We told him that we ran team-building in South Africa. As we chatted, we asked if we could get his phone number, so that we could call him when we needed him. At the end of our journey, he gave us his number and we paid him for the trip.
The next morning, Arthie phoned him. “Ah, the South Africans, he said. And he was perfectly on time, outside our hotel. Off we went to Macy’s. Upon our arrival, we asked what the fee was.
“Twenty dullah,” he said, “You are on vacation.”
Hamid became our friend, our guide and on every occasion – bar the trip to the airport – charged us $20. He would be there at night and in the morning. He was our saviour. We respected him and he respected us. We learnt so much about this very private man from our conversations, and he about us. How many other people have had their own private New York Taxi driver?
Pat, our Irish American, taxi driver nodded and shook his head. He had never heard of that before – “New York taxi drivers are renowned for their focus on money, not on people. That is amazing!”
“And there is more ,” I told Pat. “When we were in Las Vegas, we had a taxi driver as our witness at our wedding!” We looked at each other and laughed, at the wonderful memory.
“No way!” said Pat, “tell me about it,” laughed the big, jovial 3rd generation American. (His grandfather had emigrated to the USA from Ireland, as a young man.)
Arthie took up the story, “As we left Flamingo Casino, we decided to find a chapel and get married again. (This is our 6th wedding to each other.)”
“No, we just love to celebrate our love for each other through weddings and re-affirming our vows.” She continued, “As we stepped out of the hotel, the Concierge stepped up, and asked if we needed a taxi, and where we were going to. He was quite shocked when we told him that we needed to find a chapel, to get married. He asked the taxi driver, if he could do it. The taxi driver nodded, and we climbed in.”
Pat laughed, “And then you asked all about him, didn’t you?
Arthie laughed, “How’d ya know? How’d ya know?” He laughed and settled back to listen to her.
“So, Jahed – who was from Iraq – called his controller on the radio. “You know that chapel downtown, you told me about? I need the address.” After a little time and some strong words, with the controller, Jahed said. “I got it.”
A short while later, we arrived at the Stained Glass Wedding Chapel. Jahed switched off the taxi meter, for the duration of the wedding. Within about 15minutes – we were set and ready for our wedding – dressed in our denims and sneakers. The organisers tried to hire a wedding dress and tuxedo – for about $200 dollars each – but we wanted a quick wedding, without finery!
A short while later a little old lady, in a wig arrived. She was the minister. 5 minutes later, and with some very beautiful words, that we had repeated to each other – we were wed! And Jahed was our witness.”
Pat laughed, his deep Irish laugh and shook his head!
I carried on, “And we got his phone number too. But never needed to use his services again. We had tried another taxi driver – from Ethiopia, but he was really rude. He got the standard tip, and complained bitterly about it. A little respect goes a long way! And disrespect takes you nowhere.”
Pat looked at us in the mirror, and said, “You guys are a true example to us all. You will never want for anything.” We thanked him.
As we drove Pat spoke of his life, the recent death of his father – and how he was handling that. As we drew near Hollywood, he asked us where we wanted to be dropped off. We told him that we had just attended an amazing conference, on building our team-building company, and internet businesses.
“Wherever the red tourist buses are based”, said Arthie. “Oh look, there is one now.”
Our new friend, swung into action and chased the bus. When it came to a halt, he bounded out and asked the driver how we could get on! He was helping his new friends out and was going to do everything that it took to get us on that bus.
And indeed, that is what happened. We wished Pat well, “The top of the morning to you, Pat!” And he hung his head a little, and said, “You speak more Irish than I do.”
Arthie and I have built friendships and relationships, around the World, simply by respecting other people.
4 simple tips to get more from your life.
1) Care More – Life is not only about you. Start to greet people, and treat people, in the way that they want to be greeted and treated. Learn their languages – do not demand to hear yours. Ask about them, talk far less of your self.
2) Give More – Don’t be afraid to help others, be it by listening, caring and even sharing. Don’t always go with the “standard tip.” Look for ways that you can give, rather than seek ways to get. And you shall receive!
3) Love More – You are perfect as you are, however Life rewards action and not thought. When you really begin to like and accept who you are, in every way, then you are able to be more loving. When you love more – you are loved more.
4) Thank More – Live in a permanent state of gratitude. Be thankful for each breath that you take. Be grateful for your family and your friends – AND tell them. Thank people for every thing that they do. Humbly thank people for their compliments. Develop an “attitude of gratitude”, and the world will reward your thankfulness.
Arthie Moore and Brian V Moore
“At the level of respect, all people are equal.”
Durban, South Africa.
30th April 2008