Tag Archives: 2018

StreetLights People Profiles: Mary

StreetLights original post August 9, 2018

I like to repost this one for Memorial day.

#Peopleprofiles

Mary

Yesterday, I had the honor of providing a ride to an incredible woman named Mary. Mary is 92 years old and by her own words “feels great!” She only has a flip phone so she utilizes a service called Go Go Grandparent to order her Lyft rides. I have attached a link in the comments. The service provides her all the info about her ride including the name of the driver, type and color of the vehicle, plate number, how far away, and the cost. The service will also send a text to Mary’s daughter to let her know Mary is on a Lyft ride. Pretty cool service. I didn’t know it existed until yesterday.

Mary and I only had about 15 minutes together but I can tell you that was the best 15 minutes of my day! Mary told me she moved here from South Carolina not long after her husband passed away to be closer to her family. She has 5 children, grandkids, and I believe at least 1 great grandchild. She lives with family in Fort Worth. Now, I must apologize because as I tell the next part of the story, I was unable to get some basic info. Mary actually told me her husband’s name but because we were limited in time and I didn’t want her to be late for her dentist appointment, I didn’t confirm his name and failed to write it down. I can tell you if Mary ever reads this, I hope she will reach out to me. I would love the opportunity to speak with her again. I believe her life story is one worth sharing.

Mary’s husband graduated from Harvard. He then moved on to the Naval Academy and became a Naval Aviator. This man flew jets off carriers! He flew combat missions in Korea and even took flak, forcing his plane down. Meanwhile, Mary would look to the skies, wondering if her husband was alright. She didn’t want to see Naval Officers dressed in formal whites approach her door. As she spoke of her husband, it was easy to see how much she loved him, and that they must have had an extraordinary bond. She would wrench her hands in anxiety every time she got any news.
While her husband was streaking the sky, Mary was doing the hard work of raising their 5 children, basically on her own. She wasn’t complaining about this. She was proud of her husband and I believe she was happy with the job she did raising her family too.

Mary had such a delightful positive disposition. When we first greeted one another, her response was, “Christopher, I am above ground and breathing air, so I am happy to be here.” Mary seemed so appreciative for her family and just for being alive. I asked her if she was religious because I believe God brought us together. She laughed and said, “Well, I suppose you could call me a failed Episcopalian.” But Mary had a deep spiritual connection to God, clearly. She told me once, when she felt extremely depressed and desperate, she went into the church and prayed to God for help. And, He did. Just praying for help gave her enough peace and strength to carry on. When she was talking about feeling pretty good for her age, she told me how medicine and health is all about the acronyms now. She had a friend who was diagnosed with IBD. When her friend told this to Mary, Mary responded saying, “I also have an acronym health issue, AGE. It causes all kinds of issues including a loss of hearing, sight, and stability. And, my teeth no longer fit right either.”

When Mary’s husband retired from the Navy, He went back to school and became a therapist. He treated patients for several years in South Carolina. It must have been a nice time for him and Mary, and for their family. He was no longer away. One day he came home and told Mary that he couldn’t remember previous sessions with his patients. Even when he checked his notes, he was having a hard time remembering. That was the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

From diagnosis to death was 12 years. Mary told me she took care of him as his disease slowly took more and more of him. As he became less self-sufficient, Mary fed him, dressed him, and bathed him. She didn’t complain. Mary told me she was so happy she was able to do that for him. Her speech trembled a bit when she spoke about him so lovingly. Mary and I talked a little about depression. She has battled it, still does. But she is a warrior.
Her husband served this nation heroically and then went on to help many more lives through therapy. If you ask me, Mary is also a hero that should be celebrated. She raised 5 children virtually alone. Her dedication and love for her husband is truly heroic as well. Now, here she is in Texas, near her family, and “feeling great!”

Mary, it was a true pleasure and honor to meet you. By the way, you should write a book too. Your story is amazing and I thank you for sharing a little bit of it with me yesterday.

As I thought about Mary and her husband, about how tough it must have been for both of them, while he was away flying dangerous missions and she at home raising their kids, this song came to mind.

#kindness #purposefulkindness #drivingawaydepression #WhatAWonderfulWorld #hope #peace #joy #love #streetlights #grace #TheKindnessClub #lifeisbetterwithasoundtrack #weareallconnected #findingjoy
#AllMyEmptySpaces
#StreetLightsOnASaturdayNight

The Airport Queue

StreetLights from July 5th, 2018

10:48 pm

I pulled into the terminal A parking lot, the designated staging/waiting area for Uber and Lyft drivers. Both apps running. The queues for Uber and Lyft were 253 cars and 151 cars respectively. But it was Thursday night, the heaviest night of the week for business travelers coming home and between 9 pm and midnight, the highest number of arrivals. Nevertheless, I had some time to kill. So, I started walking the perimeter of the parking lot, left foot stepping on the faded red fire lane stripe.

10:53pm

Uber 240 cars ahead of me, Lyft 141.

So many people, so many cars. Up ahead I see Jeremy. He is always on his phone, alway very busy. At what, I’m not really sure. But, if I went over to say hello, I might be there awhile. Best keep walking. Jeremy usually has lots of drama to share. One night I watched him roam the parking lot on the phone with his ex-wife for almost an hour, arguing. He drives all the time but likes the flexibility of the work so he can spend time with his kids, the subject of the long call with his ex that night.

10:59pm

Uber 189 Lyft 127

There is Amir by his Lexus. He can’t seem to get his cigarette lit. Amir is from Qatar, I think. I know he works 3 jobs. Besides driving, he works at his uncle’s convenience store and also at a restuarant in Irving. He is saving up money to bring his family over. He says driving is really helping him learn the area and learn english better too.

11:05pm

Uber 137 Lyft 104

I see Sherry standing outside her Dodge Avenger. She loves her car. I ordered a Lyft ride for myself not too long ago when my car was being repaired. Sherry was the one who picked me up. She didn’t have a holder for her phone so she held it in her hand the whole trip and kept looking down. She is fairly new to driving and kind of a mess. I offered her a little advice and told her where she could get a phone stand. Hope she got one. Sherry drives as a second job too. She is using the extra money to pay down her credit card debt so she can qualify to buy a house to raise her two boys.

11:12pm

Uber 74 Lyft 68

Still walking the circuit. Cars keep buzzing in and out of the lot. Oh, there’s Willie. Willie is pretty cool. He drives an extended cab F150. Willie always has funny stories to tell about his riders. He constantly draws an audience in the parking lot. Willie is retired but needs the extra income to help support his grandson. He is talking with Brad, from Denver. Brad is retired Army. Brad sold everything he couldn’t fit into his Mitsubishi Endeavor and moved to Dallas to be closer to his adult daughter. He has zero debt and low living expenses so he lives off his military retirement and what he earns driving. Brad can tell you anything you ever wanted to know about army helicopters. After twenty minutes with him, you could practically repair one yourself. Brad has lots of strong opinions, some of them contradictory. But he always seems to respect others. Brad says while he doesn’t like it much, it’s every American’s right to be stupid and uninformed. For the record, I don’t agree with that sentiment.

11:25

Uber 31 Lyft 47

It’s time to get back into my car. About to get a request. Lots of cars, lots of drivers. Lots of dreams. Lots of hope. This parking lot is the perfect place to see the American dream in action. It ain’t easy. But it is still alive. Everyone here is here to better their lives or to better the lives of their loved ones.

Next time you hop into an Uber or Lyft, ask your driver why they do it. I bet you get an interesting and maybe even an inspiring story.

We are all connected. We each have our own unique story but we are all on this journey together. Be kind to each other. I wish you all a very happy Independence Day.

kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights