I wasn't in a talking mood. But there was something so gentle about him, so spiritual. He asked me where I was visiting from. I told him SF.
Theo, my driver, was originally from Sierra Leonne. We talked about Africa and exchanged some stories. I asked him how he liked living in Phoenix. He talked about the brutal heat. And then he talked about the other stuff.
Like when passengers refuse to ride with him because they wanted someone who spoke "English" (Theo spoke better English than me) or the times when he was called a monkey. That hurt him the most.
I asked Theo how he handled the hurt. He said he was so close to lashing back but he just focused on doing his job...to make the interaction into a positive experience. And by the end of each interaction, the customers were in tears, asking him for forgiveness. He said if he lashed back, he'd continue the cycle and there would be no end.
I asked Theo if he's able to change hearts and minds. He told me about how in his day job at the bank, he made a friend of that customer who called him a monkey. He was able to get him to reconcile with his family who stopped talking to him years ago.
Push me and I'll push you right back never works. Push me and I'll pick you up does.