The worldwide epidemic, courtesy of Covid-19, has made me stop and wonder: When I’m not driving, what else is there to life? After careful deliberation, I’ve decided the answer is: plenty.
My daily work schedule has gone from six to eight rides a day in a 12- to 16-hour shift – that often started at 4:00am and ended at 8:00pm – to zero or maybe a couple rides a day. This has left me with a lot of extra time to think about what’s important in life, and I realized that I actually have a gift to share with others.
In mid-March, I posted a sign in my condo apartment building offering my driving services in my personal car to help my neighbors – many of whom are in their golden years – to run various errands for them. It has given me an entirely new perspective on my life and the very small world around me. Simply put, I’ve gotten to know my neighbors and learn what’s important to them by giving back to them.
In late March, I drove one neighbor to Newark Airport, as she caught the last flight out to Dublin, Ireland, to be with her family. I’ve driven other neighbors to the bank, dentist, doctor, grocery store and pharmacy. The grocery store run is very popular!
One neighbor I drive often is deaf, which makes communication both challenging and interesting, since I do not know sign language. I receive a weekly TTY phone call from a translator, who receives a typed message from my neighbor to call me. We communicate via this telephone translator to set up our errand run.
When we’re together driving to the bank or grocery store, we communicate with hand gestures and nods. If we can’t understand each other (which happens sometimes), I whip out my handy-dandy note pad and write down a simple message. He replies on the same note pad.
Another neighbor asks me to go to the grocery store and pharmacy for her because she has mobility challenges. She told me in early May that she has cancer. The next week, I drove her into Manhattan to see a world famous, triple-board-certified cancer doctor. I hope I’m able to play some small role helping rid of her cancer. This would have been difficult to do if I was working full shifts.
Isn’t this what we all strive for? Rather than just trudging through the monotony of our daily, boring lives (just to keep paying the rent), don’t we all want to make a positive difference in someone’s life… even just one life?
This pandemic has helped me better recognize and understand the plight of others – and helping people, even in small ways, has made my life more meaningful.
What have you learned from this epic epidemic?