... With Quora.
I am going to tell a small story - in a nutshell - and let you decide.
The story I am going to tell, is about Nick Huber and is already present in great detail here at Quora. Though the point of his story is different, I am taking a different learning from the story.
For those of you who are really really lazy to read through the post, here is a quick recount. Nick visited Las Vegas and on his way back to the airport, he befriended a cabbie. The cab driver was a very nice man and soon struck a conversation with Nick. Nick too took a genuine interest in the man and the cab driver was soon recounting his life's story. He shared pictures on his flip phone with Nick and also told him that he was residing at a place which cost him only $300 and was still very safe - he obviously took pride in the fact that he was living honorably.
He had come to Las Vegas to become a Black Jack [ the most popular casino game in the world and the experts are called Black Jacks ]. His fate led him to be a cab driver and he was driving for almost 16 years now. The cab driver enjoyed Nick's company and though he never mentioned it, Nick could sense a loneliness within him.
The airport arrived, the fare paid and after Nick gets in, he realises that his iPhone had slipped in the taxi. He had already "lost" his iPhone once in Buenos Aires [his cabbie had stolen it] and Nick was very sceptical about getting this one back too. He called up the number and the cab driver picked it up. He told Nick that he'll be there in 15 minutes. When Nick calls up after 15 minutes, the cabbie says he is at the entrance. Nick collects his iPhone and pays the cabbie $20.
End of Story.
But this chain of events sets Nick thinking. And here is the best part of the whole thing, that brought a lump to my throat.
However, something was bothering me ever since I left him: why was a guy like that driving a cab for 16 years? In the world I want to live in, a guy like that gets a great break after a few years from some businessman that steps into his cab, realizes his potential and he is on his way to getting more out of life than just a paycheck.
Moreover, why was a guy like this so desperate for someone to tell his story to? Why didn't he have someone or some community to listen to his stories and appreciate him? I can't help but feel that his lack of community and lack of career success were related.
In particular, I think he's just one of many people who do what they're told without really thinking about it. Good people trust other people, because they don't realize how mean and selfish we all can be at times.
I think that somewhere along the line, someone told him he wasn't going to amount to much and he believed them. Or, somehow, after working for 16 years in the service industry and living off of tips (i.e. scraps), he started to believe he is a servant. After selling his time to others for too long, he came to believe he was for sale.
He tells himself something like: there couldn't be something wrong with Las Vegas, America, capitalism or the people around me - there must be something wrong with me.
And this was the point I broke down. I, We, see such people everyday.
That Sugarcane juice vendor, the barber, the Jilebiwala, The autodriver. For us, their existence is only a mere bubble. We hardly think about them in our busy lives. We remember them for just the instant we need to get things done. We do not mind paying 5000 bucks for a pair of shoes at a Nike shoe store and yet we haggle with the cobbler for 5 rupees. And after that poof !!! They don't exist for us anymore.
[At this point of time, I am not supporting them. There are some real miscreants among these people as well, whose only aim is to fleece people and make money.]
What is wrong with this world ?
Is it me ?
Is it them ?
Or is it just the way it is supposed to be ?
I am not answering any questions here. Just thinking aloud.
Thanks Quora. Thanks Nick Huber.
This is a thought that will haunt me for a long long time.