Any chance I get, I tell people I meet along the path of life all about my two greatest sources of pride and joy in my life: my two daughters. I have bragging rights when the time and place is appropriate.

Conversation Starters

As a chauffeur, the number one rule (besides driving safely and smartly) is to not speak to the passenger unless they initiate the conversation first. I have my well-rehearsed “script” that introduces myself and explains where we will be going, how we will get there and our estimated time of arrival.

If a passenger does initiate the conversation with a conversation starter like, “So, how long have you been driving?” or “When did you start working today?”, I see that as a green light for me to answer their question(s) and engage in brief, polite, positive conversation with them.

Visual Cues

Sometimes when I’m standing outside my vehicle, waiting for passengers to come out, I will observe the area and make note of interesting or unusual things I see. For example, last week, I noticed one of the cars in a driveway where I had parked my SUV had Massachusetts license plates.

After the passengers came out of their house, they were very friendly and chatty. We got into my SUV and were on our way.

When they asked me, “Are we your first ride today?”, that was my cue to reply “no,” and then explain what time my first pick-up was that day. Then I said, “I noticed you have a Massachusetts license plate.” They said “yes, one of us is from Massachusetts.” Then I said, “My oldest daughter just finished the Boston Marathon on April 17. The passenger said she ran the Boston Marathon last year. I congratulated her on achieving this respectable milestone.

I then transitioned to say that my oldest daughter lived and worked in Boston last year at Brigham & Women’s Hospital as a patient advocate for a clinical study on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She even presented a paper describing the study’s findings in San Francisco, and co-authored the paper that appeared in a major medical journal.

I said she did this job before starting medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in July 2022, where she is completing her first year. Her anticipated concentration is neuroscience. She has said she wants to help find the cure to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Teacher of the Year

Another day, I was driving a couple from their home in Northern New Jersey to Newark Airport. The husband and wife were very nice.

As we were on our way to the airport, I noticed that her luggage read, “Teacher of the Year.” I asked my passenger about it, and she explained it was an award she had won. I congratulated her and told her I thought it was a truly great accomplishment! I then told her that my youngest daughter is graduating this May from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) with a degree in Education. She will go on to earn her Masters degree in Education at TCNJ. She has said she would like to help children who are on the spectrum, to help them find their way.

The moral of this Street Story is if you have someone in your life who you are especially proud of, it’s OK to brag about them, given the circumstances are appropriate. You have bragging rights. The person(s) you are talking to may have bragging rights of their own as well.

Article by RH Stovall, Jr

R.H. Stovall, Jr. is a Senior Executive Chauffeur, trainer and mentor for Royal Coachman Worldwide in Denville, NJ.

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