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Coffee with the Uber Driver

Opportunities are in everyone.

Coffee and Uber in the same sentence? What? The story sounds a little ridiculous but that is exactly why I feel a need to write this post - to explain that opportunities can come in the most unlikely form.
Just this past weekend, I called an Uber taxi to go to a cafe in downtown Columbus. There's a long back story but basically I was unexpectedly on my own with no form of transportation and figured I would cough up the money to take Uber into town. I normally don't take Uber... but every time I do, I'm intrigued by the driver and learning about his or her story.
This time when I slid into the back seat, I was greeting by a middle aged man who smiled and said hello politely. I soon found out this was only his fourth day on the job. He was a software engineer from Nepal, who had completed his undergrad in India and masters in the US. He had two kids in college at OSU and he didn't know downtown Columbus area too well. I started telling him about the place that I was going - Northstar Cafe, a favorite among locals. It was fairly over priced but the food was excellent and the environment was laid back and inviting - the perfect recipe for success. Somehow while in the car he asked me about college and my major and when I answered that I was an economics and anthropology double major, he asked what I planned on doing afterward school. I laughed and said I didn't plan on using either major directly but wanted to work on the backpack business I had started. I didn't go into much more detail than that.
A few minutes later he dropped me off at Northstar. I grabbed coffee and settled down to work on editing my thesis. (Finally, I must add... my school work has been on the back burner all winter break. The balance between school and business definitely eludes me sometimes.) Anyways, literally like two minutes later I see Shiv, the driver walk through the front doors. He ordered coffee and then started looking around anxiously for a place to sit. The place was packed and I had taken the last available table. I figured this was one of those moments to reach out to a (almost) stranger so I called his name and motioned for him to sit down across from me. He gave a relieved smile and said thanks so much as he took a seat. He had decided to try the place out while he had time.
We started talking and soon enough the conversation landed on my backpacks and he was asking how I made them. "My mom and I," I said and then he mentioned that he knew people in Columbus who would love a job sewing backpacks. He even offered to let me use his 1200 sq ft basement as a production studio, rent free. Wait, what?! I wasn't exactly sure what to say except thank you and I would think about the offer. I wasn't sure what to think - was he being genuine? Should I be wary of a stranger? The offer seemed sincere so I decided that I had no reason not to trust the guy. We exchanged contact info. Whether I will ask him for help in any capacity is still to be determined.
I wanted to share this story because...
I think something as simple as coffee with a near stranger is a strong example of how opportunities can come at unexpected times, in unexpected places, and through unexpected people. When I first slid into that Uber car I never imagined that I would later chat face-to-face with the driver, just like old friends meeting up for coffee. I also never guessed that he could be a important lead in business. All that it took for the opportunity to arise was for me to share my story. So now I make it a point to share a little about my story or myself (when appropriate) because it opens the door to endless possibilities.
Hence my conversation with a bearded man named Seth the next day....
But I'll save that for a separate post. :)
Today, just remember to share - share your story, your vision, your business - it doesn't need to be perfect or complete to be worthy of sharing. I used to think I had to have everything figured out about my backpacks before I could start telling other people about it. But now I realize the opposite is true - the more I share, the more support I receive in growing my business and taking it to the next level! So thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and supported me thus far!
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