I was not having a good day.
I’d just dropped off my car at the dealership. I was looking at almost $500 in maintenance and repairs—at a time when my budget didn’t have that $500 to spare.
I’d planned on waiting for my car at the dealership, but the service adviser recommended that he call the shuttle to take me home. The work could take a while, he said. I agreed; after all, I had a lot of work I needed to get done.
As I sat in the customers’ lounge and waited for the shuttle to arrive, I looked out at the sunny sky and tried, unsuccessfully, to ward off the unpleasant mood that was settling in. My sad feelings were snowballing … stress, money worries, tiredness, etc. I was missing my husband, whose work has taken him to San Francisco—while I remain tied to the Coachella Valley thanks to my business. Worst of all, doubt was setting in.
Am I doing the right thing? Is all of this—the long hours, the tight budget, the absence from my husband—worth it?
My mental malaise was interrupted by the service adviser’s voice. “Hey, buddy. The shuttle’s here.”
I grabbed my computer bag, walked outside and climbed into the van. I was the only passenger. As we pulled onto East Palm Canyon Drive, the driver commented on the amazing weather we’ve been having.
“Yeah, it’s gorgeous,” I said. “Too bad I have to spend the day inside working.”
“Oh, yeah?” the driver responded. “What kind of work do you do?”
“I own a local newspaper, the Coachella Valley Independent.”
The driver’s eyes lit up as turned his head to look at me. “Really? I love the Independent! I pick it up all the time at one of the dealers.”
He went on to explain that the restaurant-news column was his favorite feature, because he gets news from it that he can find nowhere else. We spent the rest of the short drive chatting about food and restaurant gossip.
As the van pulled up to my apartment complex, the driver turned and shook my hand. “It was great to meet you,” he said. “I really appreciate what you do.”
The doubt that had been settling in was gone. This is why I do what I do.
Thank you very much, Mr. Shuttle Driver. Thanks also to everyone else who offers kind words and constructive criticism regarding the Independent. The comments always seem to come at the perfect time. Really.
As always, thanks for reading the Independent—and be sure to pick up the April 2016 print edition, being distributed at 375 locations valley-wide this week.