What a 78 Year Old Uber Driver Taught Me
[George]: What makes you happy? In life?
[John]: When I have all my necessities, and not having overly high expectations – to the point where you make life more difficult than it should be. For example, people feeling like they have to borrow money to impress others, I mean who are you going to impress? I’m happy when I’m healthy and when my family is healthy. Simple as that.
And what pleases me mainly is when I go for my daily 2-3 hour walk, look at the beautiful trees, observe the environment around me – I mean really take it in. As for the rest, pfff…it’s honestly a joke.
[John]: You are maybe 25 years old? How old are you?
[George]: I’m 25, you guessed it right!
[John]: Yeah, I’m ok in this.
[John]: Say that you have a good business or a good job and you’re planning to be rich, something to prove to the world that you’re successful – it’s the wrong thing you can do because you’re going to waste your life the same way I did. I never tried to impress anyone at your age but it’s because I never had anything when I was young so my thinking was to work really hard to get the things I really wanted.
[George]: Which was what?
[John]: It was like to have my own house, to have extra money on the side…and big things as well. Anyway, it was wrong. I learned later in life that this is not what it’s all about. And today, I have my own little place, a condo in downtown which I bought for $100K back then, and have been working as a cab driver for 49 years.
I can’t show you much (materially), but the one thing I can tell you and I tell this to my daughter, to my granddaughter, is that DON’T BORROW ANYTHING. I can prove it to you that I don’t owe a penny to anyone, and I’m a happy old man because of that.
If you can achieve to control your finances and expenditures, you won’t go crazy on borrowing. These people that you see here in Toronto, the majority of them are in debt – they all borrow from card to card. It’s stupid.
[George]: That’s great advice, Sir. If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?
[John]: I’m 78.
[George]: God bless you. If there’s anything you look back on in your life, is there anything you regret?
[John]: No…uh…regretting *thinking out loud*.
I can tell you my friend, that I tried to go where I want to live. I’m originally from Greece, and that’s where I wanted to live – with good weather, close to family, tasty food, etc. I came to Canada for economic stability and although I’m very grateful for what this country has done for me, my heart always longed for home – unfortunately, Greece became more and more unstable, so going back was no longer an option and I had to make the best with what I had (no complaints or excuses).
[George]: Can I ask you one more question, are you married?
[John]: Of course.
[George]: How long have you been married for?
[John]: 50 years.
[George]: Wow, that’s amazing. What advice do you have, given your successful long-term relationship?
[John]: Give her control of your money, haha.
[John]: Obviously keep an eye on things, but I tell you – the partnership we had in building from the grounds up is what allowed us to be successful in different facets of our relationship.
[John]: Ok my friend, this is your stop – it was a pleasure chatting with you.
[George]: Thanks John, will definitely not forget this Uber ride – all the best!