A recent experience reinforced my belief that building
relationships can relieve stress and that having a diversity and inclusion
outlook can help build relationships.
My son and I were in New York for a few days on our way home
to California when I left my cell phone in a taxicab. Not only did the cab
driver try to find me, he was kind enough to deliver my phone to the reception
desk at The Muse hotel where I was staying.
I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner. I noticed that
the cab driver had a Farsi name and asked him if he was from Iran. There had
been big demonstrations earlier that day to protest the Iranian election. The
cab driver, Jimshad and I struck up a conversation. I think he was somewhat
surprised at my knowledge of Iranian history and that I was so interested in
the election. We talked for the fifteen-minute cab ride and for about fifteen
minutes before I got out.
We discussed the political situation, our families, and the
fact that he was a chemistry professor during the school year. I told him I was
from New York and gave him my name, which is actually common in Iran.
I was so involved in our conversation that when I got out to
meet my friend I left my phone on the seat. I didn’t notice it until after I
had finished my dinner and decided to call my son. When I couldn’t find my
phone in my purse, or in the restaurant, I became somewhat frantic. “How would
my 15 year old son reach me? How would I reach everyone in New York whose
numbers were programmed into my phone.” My stress level was raised
significantly in a very short time.
I realized that I had probably left my phone in the cab, but
didn’t remember the cab company or the driver’s full name. My friend had just
called T-mobile to see about getting me a new phone the next day and I was
resigned to my loss.
When I used my friend Joel’s phone to check my voice mail.
there was a message from my sister that the driver had spoken to her and he had
my phone. My stress level went way down in an instant.
Jimshad, had found the phone and realized that it was mine. He knew my first
name and when my sister called to reach me, he answered. She told him where I
was staying and he brought they phone to my hotel. When he dropped it off, he
told the people at the front desk, how much he enjoyed speaking with me and was
so glad that he could get my phone to me.
Everyone was amazed that something like that could happen in
New York. Cab drivers meet so many people during their shift. Had I not struck
up a conversation, he wouldn’t have remembered my name and me. The phone would
have just ended up in the taxi lost and found never to be found by stressed out
me. If I hadn’t studied history, and culture and not been a diversity and
inclusion consultant, I wouldn’t have been able have an interaction that was
significant and memorable, so that he would be able to locate me and take the
time to return my phone. My contacts would have been lost and I wouldn’t have
been able to call anyone to make plans and have a wonderful time in New York. We
never know how an interaction can have a future impact on our lives.