Tuesday Slice of Life : August 2, 2016.
A text from the limo service was waiting for me when AA Flt 1475 touched down four hours later than scheduled.
As we taxied to the gate, I connected with my Limo driver.
While I waited for my bag, our texts continued.
I walked into the blistering heat, and Madut pulled up beside the curb on the arrival level at Terminal A, DFW International Airport.
He walked around the car to greet me by name and gather my luggage into his trunk.
I was struck by how tall he was, the size of his hands, and his genuinely bright smile.
His car was black and shiny, spotless inside.
As I slid into the seat, its coolness was a relief from the Texas heat.
Not at all like the Amarillo cab without air conditioning I once experienced, but that’s another slice.
A cold bottle of water was in the beverage holder by my seat.
As we left the airport, Madut apologized for being a few minutes late. But since my bags were slow offloading, I hadn’t even noticed.
I asked how long he had worked for the limo service.
Two years. And yes, he liked it.
He mentioned his uncle was visiting in the States.
I asked him, “How long have you been here?”
I asked where he was from.
Southern Sudan, he said and then asked if I knew where it was.
I do; he was surprised.
I told him that some years ago, my husband and I printed the Bible in Roman letters for one of the tribal languages.
He spoke of the civil war; the corruption, the tribal problems.
He talked about evil leaders; about deceit, lies, corruption, and double standards where some break laws without consequences. They are above the law.
We both knew we were talking about events here in the US this past year and the years of civil war and corruption that have destroyed his homeland.
He spoke of religion.
I spoke of Jesus, my Savior, who changed my heart.
I said, “Heart change is our only hope.”
He spoke of creation, about science vs. religion.
I spoke of theory vs. faith. It is by faith we understand God created the worlds. (Hebrews 11)
He asked about my work.
I shared my passion for literacy, how I work with teachers.
He spoke of Tower of Babel, and wondered about the origin of the races.
I asked if he spoke Swahili.
No, but he understands it because some words are Arabic. He speaks Arabic.
Then he told me the history of Swahili. Fascinating.
He told me that English was hard to learn.
I told him about American teachers who use my materials to train Sudanese teachers how to teach English.
He told me that numerous Sudanese names are like Chinese names and wondered about possible connections. Maybe some day he will research it.
I told him that when I was in China, the people thought I was of Chinese descent. But I’m not.
And while he drove through the late afternoon traffic and out into the lovely countryside north of Dallas, we talked.
As he unloaded my bags at the bed & breakfast where I will stay, he thanked me for the conversation and handed me his business card. He said that Federal Limo honors requests for a specific driver.
Perhaps, some day, Madut and I will share another slice of life.
Slice of Life is hosted at Two Writing Teachers
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Very fascinating to read. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Taking time to learn another person’s story is so powerful, isn’t it?
Beautiful post. As I was reading, I noticed how your conversation flowed from topic to topic and how REAL it was because it was face-to-face. Awesome to see that today, where so many conversations are screen-to-screen. Also interesting how two people who are so different have so much to discuss and share. Again, thank you for this post. I think I will share it with my students this fall to show how valuable in-person human interactions can be and are worth writing about and recording. My own son and daughter, I can tell, are at times a little hesitant to engage with people in person (in some situations anyway). We need to make sure students value and enjoy the engagement of face to face dialogue.
I got thinking about some of the great taxi conversations I’ve had and I had the same thought as Sally about NSN’s book. There is real wisdom to be had from conversations with people who talk to people all day. They have seen a lot and learned a lot.
I loved reading about your conversation. It made me think how drivers are a certain kind of hero! It reminded me of the book: I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK? Tales of Driving and Being Driven by Naomi Shihab Nye. Thanks for sharing and reminding me how wise drivers are.