I was being driven to the hotel from the airport and the cab driver was a bit
on the quiet side.
I didn't know that he had been working long twelve hour days lately.
If you know me, I'll try to get rocks to engage me, ok, not really but I did get to know
him in our 40 minute drive to the hotel.
He was from Nigeria and had been in Memphis 20 years.
"Came here and never left," he said.
We somehow got on the subject of work ethic.
He said that years ago when he first started driving his "airport runs"
that Memphis had a much smaller and run down airport.
He was quite proud of the construction and the continued progress that his
city kept making.
As soon as he found out that I was Latino, he said "I love you people."
I laughed and asked him what he meant.
He said that his best friend was from Mexico, and had worked in various
construction projects at the airport the last few years.
He then added, "And our work ethics are very similar."
He proudly said that in his country (Nigeria), "Employers always get a full
day's work for a day's pay out of all of us."
He said that he was having a hard time teaching his sons that important lesson.
Maybe he added, "I have made it too easy for them, with no struggle,
you forget that you have to work harder."
I told him I agreed, that challenges for me were opportunities.
He laughed and said, I need to write that down and tell my boys.
We then spent time talking about our lives when we were both children.
As we got closer to the hotel, he added,
"I do blame my friend Alfredo for the extra 20 pounds that I have put
on over the years."
Not understanding I asked him, "You're blaming your best friend Alfredo
for the extra pounds you've gained?
He said, "Yes, you're darn tamales."
"They make them I every flavor, you know."
"Pork, chicken and even sweet raisin tamales!"
He said that since Alfredo had introduced them to him,
and shown him where they made them fresh every day,
he had been going by twice a week.
"I eat tamales as a treat," he proudly admitted..
We both agreed that they were a delicious food - but I couldn't see myself
eating them as a treat or for dinner twice a week.
He said that when he went back to Nigeria and retired,
that he was going to open a place that only sold good tasting
As we got to the hotel, he said that he had a couple of recipes he could give me
for when I retired.
We had a big laugh, and wished each other well.
Although, come to think of it, I might go find some tamales this weekend.
Make it a great día.