I was in Boston earlier this year to give a Leadership Presentation. At some point during the talk I said that “every person on earth knows something that you don’t.” My point was that if we keep an open mind we can learn something from everyone we meet.
The next day I hopped in a cab for the short ride from Back Bay to Logan Airport. We were just a couple of blocks from my hotel when a car cut in front of us and my cab driver was forced to hit the brakes a little hard.
He laughed a bit as he apologized and said that in his city there were many important people who were always in a hurry. He didn’t seem the least bit angry or frustrated by an occurrence that must happen frequently.
I couldn’t place his accent but I could tell for sure that he wasn’t a native Bostonian; he probably wasn’t born in the U.S. either. But he had a wonderful sense about him; you could just tell he loved driving a cab and he loved the City of Boston.
I asked him how long he had been driving a cab and he said “a very long time.” He had “completed” school and held several jobs before this one but he really loved this one because he learned more driving a cab than “in all his years of school.”
He said his cab was like a classroom where he could study people. Over the years he had seen wealthy people who were never happy, happy people who would never be wealthy and poor people who were just happy to be alive.
He said “when you put them all in a pot together you learn that real happiness ain’t nothing more than a choice.” He says a prayer each day before he gets in his cab; he asks for wisdom to remember “his lessons” and for patience when the people around him don’t remember theirs.
He was an absolutely fascinating person to talk with. I had no idea when I got into that cab that a life lesson was waiting for me. It really is true, when you keep an open mind you can learn something from virtually anyone.
That also means you can learn something new almost every single day. With that in mind, what have you learned today?