I picked her up in the heart of the Baker neighborhood. She came walking out to the car with a radiant smile on her face. The destination address was on West Colfax about 20 minutes away. She got in the back seat and quickly asked about my day and “Do you enjoy driving for Lyft”? I gave my usual, “I love it, I’m not doing it as much as I used to. I still need to do it when I can, just to keep me grounded. I really don’t do it for the money, I just find that I learn more about what’s really going on out there on the streets than by watching the news or interacting with 937 friends on Facebook”. I asked her where she was headed. I assumed if she was going to work it was at a job in Tech, a micro brew brewery or a weed shop. I was not prepared for her answer which was “I work full-time at Walmart”. At this point my internal stereotype catalog was being radically deconstructed.
She laughed and said, “I really like working for Walmart. They have been great to me. When I went back to school they let me transfer from up north to the store out here. They are very encouraging and I get to work with a lot of good people, and I have great benefits”. “So what are you studying in school”? There was a lot more laughter, and then she said “Believe it or not I am a dance and art major”! “Ah the artist curse, it runs in my family too. You have to find a way to make a living so that you can do what you really love to do”. “Exactly, I like engaging with the public. At Walmart you get to meet all kinds”. “ That’s exactly why I like driving for Lyft”.
I told her that I might like to write about this. What I find interesting is exactly what I said earlier. I actually like to be wrong. Too often companies like Walmart are talked about with lots of judgment. This young woman, who in my world would be a classical millennial/hipster, and do all her shopping at thrift stores and Buffalo Exchange, was totally comfortable in her ‘blue vest’ skin.
I dropped her off at the front entrance and she made a point of thanking me. She smiled and said “Thanks for stopping at Walmart”.
Onward and Upward,