Being a Good Driver, Husband, and Father
I recently rode with Siavash (not real name). Originally from Iran, he has been driving for Taxi, Uber and Lyft in Washington DC for as long as I have been alive. During the trip, Siavash shared some of his observations on being a good driver and a good husband.
Happy Father’s Day to all the family men out there!
Bryan: Do you use Waze or Google Maps to get around?
Siavash: I don’t use a GPS unless I have to. I am my own GPS! I have been driving in Washington DC since 1976. First in a taxi, then with Uber, and then with Lyft.
Bryan: I was born in 1976. I think I’ve seen a lot of changes in thirteen years but that doesn’t even begin to compare with what you’ve seen.
Siavash: This city is so, so different. 14th street where all the popular bars and restaurants are? That’s where the ladies of the night worked. Then further north of that was where people would buy drugs. So much of the city was dangerous and I saw so many shootings. But now it is very different and I can’t believe how much everything has changed.
Bryan: You said you went from Uber to Lyft. Why was that?
Siavash: Several years ago I accepted a ride in the middle of a bad snowstorm. The two passengers were very rude to me. They wanted me to pull into a parking lot that was blocked by a big snow bank. I didn’t think my car would make it so I refused. They yelled at me, slammed the door really hard, and then when I went to use the application later on it wouldn’t work. I thought it was a problem with the system but it turns out the passenger told Uber I had run them over. Uber blocked me as a result. I had hundreds of rides and a very high rating. The least Uber could have done was call me to get my side of the story. Later they offered to give me fifty dollars because I hadn’t been able to work while this was going on. But it wasn’t about money – they didn’t treat with me respect.
Bryan: That’s really frustrating but you seem happy with Lyft. Is there anything else that bothers you about driving?
Siavash: I don’t have issues with Lyft. When I was driving with Uber, sometimes people would get upset if I didn’t get out and open the door for them. Sure, if you are an old lady I will open the door. But if you are younger and stronger than me how does that make sense? Sometimes the passengers would get upset that I didn’t have bottles of water and candy for them. This is not a long distance flight. If a driver wants to give their passengers things, that is fine – but it should not be an expectation.
Bryan: Are you living in Washington DC now?
Siavash: When I first came here from Iran I did live in Washington DC. My wife and I had our first child and we moved to Arlington. Then we had our second child and we moved to Fairfax. I love my kids and was so happy when the first one was born that I cried. Not long ago though I dreamed I had a third and I cried again – but this time because I was scared of having to raise another child. When we had our first child we moved to Arlington. When we had our second child we moved to Fairfax. We are done moving.
Bryan: That’s great that you and your wife have been together so long.
Siavash: I am retired and honestly I don’t really need the money. But if I stay in the house all the time, maybe I drive everyone else crazy. So I get out of the house and have conversations with people. That’s what’s nice about driving. About marriage – you know I think it takes fifteen years to make a very strong marriage. What you look for in a marriage changes over time. Sure, my wife will always be beautiful to me but she is so much more than that. She is my neighbor and my best friend and the person who will always take care of me and I her. I could have gone back to Iran and easily found a beautiful woman half my age to marry – but why? Marriage is about so much more than appearances, especially as you get older, and how would I know that she was really interested in me? My wife and I have been through so much together. I was there when her father died. These are the moments that really matter in a marriage – not appearances. You change, your needs change, your marriage changes and it can all be for the better.
Bryan: You sound like you’ve got a great family.
Siavash: I do. I am very lucky. And my girls are very different but I am proud of them both. I was able to buy them a house with the money I made from driving. They live together. This way they don’t have to spend decades trying to buy something. The city is very expensive now.
Bryan: This is me right here. Thanks for the ride and conversation. Khoda Hafez!*
*The only phrase I now in Farsi (May God Protect You).