Friday, September 28, 2012

Taxi Cab Wisdom

Seattle Taxi Driver

I travel a lot and I enjoy talking to taxi cab drivers.  They often enjoy discussing their views on all matters and are a great source for local weather, gossip and information.  They are usually very well informed about their respective communities.

I spoke to my cab driver in Seattle this past week on the run to the airport.  He was from Somalia, but had been in the United States for twenty years and had become an American citizen.  He told me quite a bit about himself.  He had been a University student in Mogadishu when civil war broke out in that country in 1992.  He had heard and seen the effects of artillery fire in his own city.  He managed to flee his country, escaping on the back of a truck to Kenya.  There he had waited for a while in the limbo of a refugee camp with appalling sanitation and very little food.  As he spoke English and native languages he volunteered to assist with translation work of the camp.  He still remembers the name of the Italian-American woman who was assisting in the camps.  He eventually received sponsorship form a Lutheran church in North Dakota to come to the United States.  When he saw the lawns in North Dakota he could not, at first, believe that the grass was real.  He had never seen such well-manicured gardens anywhere in Africa!

A few years later, he returned to Somalia as an american citizen where he met his wife and brought her back with him to the United States.  They now have six children under the age of 12 which, he told me, is a lot by US standards, but not so many by Somali standards.

Over the course of twenty years in the states, he has absorbed many American customs.  He has, for example, become an NFL football fan.  He was quite enthusiastic about the Seahawks 14 to 12 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football from the night before our trip.  He had definite views on the ongoing referee strike that now plagues the league.

He told me something that really stayed with me.  These were his words...

"Any child that is born in the United States is born in the red zone.  Many children born in Africa and other places around the world are born on the zero yard line.  All American children, whether they know it or not, have only twenty yards to go in order to score."

Born in the USA = Born in the Red Zone

Commander Kelly says, "You can learn a lot by talking to taxi drivers!"

1 comment:

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