January 13, 2016 » 7:13 pm

Change the World by Being Your Best Self

Rich the Zen Lyft Driver

I was running late for a meeting Monday morning, which meant taking the bus wouldn’t cut it, so I called a Lyft Line. A driver named Rich (pictured above) picked me up. There were already two people in the back seat, so I got into the front passenger seat.

Rich was warm and chatty, and he started sharing stories about growing up in San Francisco, about his previous career as a bus driver, and about his family. I’m usually preoccupied before a meeting and not inclined to make small talk, but I found him entertaining and thought-provoking, and I ended up listening closely for the entire ride.

One story in particular stood out. A friend of his was driving to visit him, and on the way over, she saw that an old man had fallen on the sidewalk and couldn’t get up. To her surprise and horror, she noticed several pedestrians walk past him without offering to help. She pulled over and helped the old man.

When she recounted this story to Rich, she exclaimed, “I can’t believe that, in this day and age, nobody stopped and helped him.”

“That’s not what he was thinking,” Rich replied.

“What was he thinking?” she asked.

“‘I can’t believe that, in this day and age, somebody stopped to help me.'” he said.

“You can’t change people,” Rich said to me after sharing the story, “but you can be your best self. That’s how we make the world a better place.”

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