“Good evening Tara, how are you? How’s your day been?”
“Oh, err, alright thanks.”
I’m not used to uber drivers chatting. I usually have my head in my phone or I’m asleep.
“Do you want some biscuits? Air conditioning on? The seat moving?”
Sam 323, according to his ID card, spent the next half an hour on the way to Auckland airport telling me about his life while trying to feed me biscuits.
He’s been in New Zealand for 21 years, coming from Hyderabad after one of his friends managed to persuade the 10 people in their friendship group to emigrate for shits and gigs. Of those 10, only 3 remain here. 2 are in Australia and 5 went back to India. He was only going to give it 3 years.
He’s never been to the South Island, he moved straight to Auckland and never left. I told him he has to visit. He told me there’s a big group of friends who always travel together and they’ve been trying to sort it out for a few years but never manage to get a date arranged because it’s like trying to herd cats.
Going back to India every 2 years with his wife to visit their families, as one of 6 brothers with 3 sisters, means their family get togethers are HUGE. He said he and his wife can’t ever get together with both families as there’s too many people; about 100 in his and up to 250 in hers. I told him this was more than more than double the people at my wedding, let alone just a family get together. He was the kind of guy with a twinkle in his eye and a contagious laugh. He loved to chat, and told me he just lives each day as it comes, for who knows what tomorrow will bring?
The uber driving was just his part time job; his full time job was in credit risk for a telecomms company. He said he needed something to keep him occupied while his wife was working; because he got bored when he was home alone. Sunday’s were for his wife though; he kept them free, and laughed when I asked him how they spent them.
“I take her shopping.”
He talked about her with such fondness, it was lovely.
I asked him if he’s considered living anywhere else, but he said it was all about where the jobs were. That and his wife doesn’t like the cold.
As we pulled up to the airport, I thanked him for the chat. He tried one last time to feed me biscuits before heading off to another fare, another chat.