Hi! My name is Matthew Stevens. I'm 28 years old and over-all live a healthy and happy life in Los Angeles, CA. A few weeks ago, I was feeling a little bummed after a string of bad dates. So to take my mind off of things, I decided to go hang out with a friend. Since I had no idea where the night would be taking us and it was very possible It involved champagne, I ordered a Lyft.
My phone alerted me that my driver, Lupe, would be picking me up in a big yellow pick up truck. As I walked outside I noticed you had to open the front door in order to climb into the back seat, which is where I typically sit when using Lyft. This gave me two options-- sit in the front and be in close proximity to a stranger, or come across like a jerk and climb into the back. I was not in the mood to be chatty with my driver. I just wanted to be polite, quiet, and bury my head into my phone. Somehow, I ended up just sitting in the front. Maybe if I acted like I was reading something important, she would just not bother me and I wouldn’t have to make small talk.
Nope. Lupe asked me where I was on my way to, which ultimately led me to talking about the melodrama that I will have forgotten about a month from now. Not wanting to talk only about myself, I asked her if she was dating anyone. She told me she actually hadn't really dated anyone in 15 years. "15 years!?" - I would die; dating is so much fun.
"Why 15 years? 15 years is a really long time!" I said. "15 years ago is when I had my son," she responded. "Is he overprotective?" I joked. Her response was rather unexpected.
"Actually he is autistic, so I really haven't had the time." My half brother is autistic, so I began to ask her more. She told me she's been a single mother his whole life. Her son is her number one priority, and she has always known she won't be around forever so she has dedicated her whole life to making sure he would be okay when she is gone. She works at night as a Lyft driver so that she is able to spend her days with him. She teaches him anything and everything she can. Book smarts, street smarts, it doesn’t matter. She spoke with such pride about his To-Do lists. About how he is able to prepare his own meals and do his own laundry. She’s gained a sense of comfort knowing that he would be able to be a fully functioning, work-capable man when she's no longer here. She spoke with such pride and positivity that it made me emotional.
"It's really helped because now that I was just diagnosed with cancer and have begun chemotherapy, when I'm sick he is able to do the little things he needs to do." I silently cried as I didn't want her to notice. I also did not say, "I'm sorry," as I knew she didn't need to hear that. She radiated positivity and confidence that she was going to be just fine. I don't know if I was crying for her, or if I was crying for myself. How dare I spend time being upset over something so silly that had happened to me? Meanwhile, Lupe was so happy and positive, being a single mother, raising an autistic son, and now battling cancer. She remained positive throughout all of the hurdles life had thrown here way. This woman has every reason to be miserable. She has every reason to hate the world, hate her life. She has every reason to give up - but she refuses and told me God has a plan for her, everything happens for a reason and it's not up for her to understand. It's up to her to be happy, positive, and move forward.
As I got out of the car, I reminded her how her that her positivity is contagious, and it makes all the difference in hers and her son's lives and that I know she will be okay. I took the $70 in cash I had in my wallet and tipped her - as I thought she needs this so much more than me.
As the past few weeks have gone by, I haven't forgotten about her. About her positivity and optimism. About how she deserves a break, how she deserves to not be working these late nights going through chemotherapy and taking care of her son all day. She deserves more than my $70.
Which is why I’ve written this and decided to share it with all of you. I tried thinking of how could I help Lupe and her son in a bigger way. Cancer treatments, her son's college tuition, or even just money so she could relax a little and enjoy life with her son. Whatever it is that she needs, I wanted to help. I can't imagine how exorbitant her medical bills are. So my goal is to raise this money for her within 30 days.
I would say I have been a relatively selfish person in life, and I would like the opportunity to give back to someone who really needs it. I am so lucky to have my health which we all take for granted. I feel God--or the universe-- is truly putting me in a position to make a difference in Lupe’s life and the life of her son. Anything you can give that would help this amazing woman and her son and continue spreading the warmth and positivity she shared with me would be truly appreciated.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!
Also - I've been in touch with Lyft and they are willing to put me in contact with her, but I'm going to wait and reach out until I've hit my goal!