You never know where you are going to find magic. Today, I had to find a ride to pick up my car at the service department. I was unable to coax any of my friends to take me on a Saturday morning, so I turned to my trusty Uber App. What is so magical about Uber is you never know who is going to pick you up, especially in my small suburban neighborhood. 

I was pleasantly surprised when an elderly man in a Cal baseball cap pulled up in his Gold, 2007 Buick sedan. When I saw the hat, I knew that I could strike up a lively conversation to fill our 10 minute ride. The rest of the conversation unfolded so magically I am not sure I can even capture it in words.

Aside from noticing the Cal baseball hat, I also noticed a familiar scent in the car. “Skip,” an elderly man and father of 6, was wearing the same cologne as my father who, at 77, sits in a wheelchair in a Skilled Nursing facility in Southern California.  The scent brought me back to rides with my dad where we talked about sports, business and the nuances of left and right brain thinking.  Turns out, Skip and my dad are exactly the same age. Also, seems as if, like me, Skip graduated from Cal (happy to say a few years earlier). He graduated in 1961 and was there the last year Cal was in the Rose Bowl.

As we exited the 101 Freeway, we began sharing our work histories and our mutual fascination with mobile technologies such as Uber. I happened to mention that I had worked at several years back. He chuckled and shared that he had changed Marc Benioff’s diaper back in the day when he was friends with Marc’s mother. Go figure!

In this brief but magical ride, I also learned that Skip was a stock broker for 30 years. Several years after retiring, Skip’s lovely, Danish wife died of cancer. It was that life changing experience that “drove” him to Uber. A lover of conversation and personal interaction, Skip wanted to get out of the house and live again. He commented that this is the most fun he has had in a long, long time. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to end our journey as we pulled in to the service department. What I really wanted to do was grab lunch or a cup of coffee to learn more about his journey.

The moral of this story is to stop and enjoy the ride. It is easy to view these Uber rides as just a means for getting us from point A to point B, but in reality it is more about the journey in the spaces in between.