Siyad’s Love Story

 Have you ever had a horrible Uber experience? Where you cannot understand the driver and they keep talking and you just want them to shut up and leave you in peace? Well, I experienced the complete opposite in my recent ride home from work. My Uber driver was HYSTERICAL! I seriously almost peed my pants from laughing. But I knew peeing on the seat would result in a huge fee from Uber, so I held it in.

Our conversation started with the basics: how our days were going, what I did for work, and how many hours he had been working for. This was only about the first two minutes of the drive and I was struggling to understand what he was saying because his accent was so thick! Somehow, our discussion shifted to the topic of navigation and how people used to find their way from England to Africa. I know, it was super random. Next, he started rambling on and on about how they couldn’t just call an Uber and go; they had to use the stars to guide them and must have encountered so many difficulties. At this point, I was just laughing. What the heck were we talking about? Or was his accent just so thick that I thought he was talking about something else?

He looked at me and said, “You’re from the States, right?” I heard States and nodded my head a bit too excitedly. He then asked me, “So, where do you think I’m from?” Let me just tell you, I hate this question. It’s a set up to make me look like a fool and I almost always get it wrong. Even if I know the answer to where someone is from, I will still get it wrong because of the panic that takes over my mind. Siyad was dark skinned, bald, and had a super thick accent. I was basically begging him to just tell me because I didn’t want to look like an ignorant, blonde girl from the United States. “AFRICAAAA!” he screamed. Literally, he screamed it.

Africa! Immediately, my questions started spilling out of my mouth. I wanted to know everything. Siyad was from Somalia, which is on the east coast of Africa (I had to ask). He has been living in London for about eight years and working with Uber for the last four. Of course, I asked, “So, do you have any good stories to tell?”

Siyad responded with, “I have a story to tell, but it’s not my own,” and he proceeded to tell me about his best friend that lives back in Somalia. So, the town he is from (I could not for the life of me understand what it was called, sorry.) had no running water and no electricity. He made this town seem absolutely incredible! The people there are the most welcoming he’s ever met in the world and work together as a community daily. He described them all as “dark, dark, dark skinned; the darkest you’ll ever see.”

So, the friend he was referring to used to live in London as well. While he was there, he met a woman. “The woman he met was short, short, short, and very blonde, blonde, blonde. And my friend, my friend is very tall with dark skin and dark eyes. They were completely different,” said Siyad. The woman was born and raised in England. She had never even stepped a foot outside of the country! But when she met his friend, all she wanted to do was learn about his culture.

After some time, the two of them fell in love. They do say that opposites attract, right? Siyad told me about the countless hours they spent together talking about their different worlds with “ears only for listening.” Honestly, that sentence brought tears to my eyes. But I snapped out of it quickly because the last time I cried in an Uber was way too embarrassing to reenact.

Finally, we had pulled up to the curb outside my flat. I was curious as to where this couple was now, so I asked him if he could finish the story. They are married and live together in Somalia! The woman dropped her whole life, packed her bags, and followed her soul mate to Africa. This was her first and only time outside of the United Kingdom. She now lives in a town with no running water and no electricity! Siyad says she is the happiest she’s ever been in her life.

The way Siyad spoke about his home was incredible. He was definitely energetic at the start of our ride. But when he was telling this story and explaining the people back in his hometown, I could tell there was a brighter spark of light shining out from him. And the love story? I mean, come on. The couple defied the odds of society and did what they had to do to be together and find their own happiness. This was definitely not what I expected from the Uber driver that I could barely understand. Siyad said his farewells and thanked me for a fun ride. He definitely earned his five-star rating.

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