It was 4am and I was in an uber en route to catch a flight to Chicago. I had a segment scheduled on Good Morning Chicago the next morning (here it is!), and was highly occupied with my notes.
I looked up. My driver seemed sleepy… So I asked her: “Is this the beginning of your shift?”
“No. I’ve been driving for 3 days now —all I’ve had is a couple of 2-3 hour naps,” she confessed.
First, I felt a bit concerned about my safety being in a car with a driver who hadn’t slept. Then I felt some concern about her health… And then I was simply curious as to why she’d ever do something like that to herself.
“My boyfriend left me, and I have three days left to pay the rent.”
As she spoke, I inhaled the smell of her cigarettes.
Her words hit me in a really personal, honest place. She was no ego. She had to pay the bills.
I’ve been there. I get it. Truly.
My friend in the car piped in about how he used to be a cabana boy at a hotel to make extra cash. I piped in about how I once sold all my nice clothes on eBay to pay my rent.
She kept driving like a zombie, repeating herself, and she was so burnt out she couldn’t really connect with us much.
No problem by me, I thought, it’s 4am.
As she pulled into LAX, I felt inspired to look into my wallet and grab whatever I had– $50 bucks.
I thought of all these reasons—judgments, really—as to why I shouldn’t give her my cash: she’s wasting money on cigarettes when she can’t pay her rent. She isn’t keeping people safe by driving on no sleep. She probably won’t even appreciate it.
And then I realized I was missing the point.
Me leaving that $50 bucks had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me.
… It’s about being the woman that gives with no attachment. It’s about knowing that there is always enough money even when I don’t feel like it. It’s about elevating your own spirit through a service consciousness. It’s about the ripple effect that my giving will have.
So I tucked the cash into the dashboard, and grabbed my luggage.
And as I grabbed my bag, I looked at her in the eye, with extraordinary conviction.
“KEEP GOING. Go home, take a nap, and then KEEP GOING… You WILL pay your rent, OK?… YOU’VE GOT THIS.”
Who knows if the money I left helped her. But I’ll tell you one thing: giving it really helped me.
I felt whole and connected to my truest self, the one inside of me that is made only of love and service.
And thus, my invitation to you on this fine Thursday.
Keep 20 bucks in your pocket, and only when it really resonates, just hand it to someone. Buy a stranger dinner, pick up the coffee for the person in line behind you, grab a hot lunch for the homeless guy on the corner.
And let go of the mental dialogue about whether you should do it, whether they deserve it, or whether it’s even being of service.
Most of all, just remember: it has nothing to do with them anyway.