Because we all need a place to start, I’ll begin my story by explaining to you; the same way I share my story every day with my passengers as I drive for Lyft. This will lay the foundation for me to expand upon; but for a moment, let me share with you a typical conversation I have with the people I am blessed to cross paths with. I’m truly fortunate to have had some WONDERFUL people who have touched my life as a driver… And it is with their encouragement I am motivated to share my story with the world.
As David got into the car that day, I inquired, “So is it welcome to Nashville, or welcome home?”
“It’s welcome home.” David responded with a sound of exhaustion in his voice.
“Well then, most certainly welcome home.” I replied trying to sound as warm and friendly as I could be. To me, it is important that everyone that gets into my Lyft car feels welcome and relaxed. It’s already tough enough to be hearded like cattle through the airport and flight experience… I like to set a warmer and more friendly tone. I like to believe I am a goodwill ambassador for visitors and locals alike.
“You’ve come in at a good time… The temperature is not too cold yet (although it is supposed to get colder tonight), and traffic should be smooth as rush hour hasn’t started yet.” Again, I like to give optimism at the beginning of of their ride.
“Ok, Bell Mede area… Out 440… GPS says about 28 minutes and we’ll have you home.” I say, sounding a bit like the pilot of the airplane he just got off of as we pulled away from the parking area.
“Sounds great… Even on the best trip, it’s always good to be home.” David explained.
“You betcha” I said, “Home, family and loved ones… Always the best destination. So, are you a Nashville native?”
“The wife and I moved here from Dallas about 6 years ago, but it is definitely home now… We love it. How about you?” David responded.
“Actually, I was born and raised in Chicago, and lived the last 9 years in Houston till I moved here 6 months ago.” I explained.
“Yeah, you don’t exactly sound like a southern boy, but I was not sure what kind of an accent that was, but you sure do have ‘that radio voice’.” David said with a smile.
“Well, thanks… I’ll tell you the same thing I tell everyone that says that… That’s better than telling me I have a radio face…”
David laughed. “No doubt.” He responded, “So what brought you to Nashville?”
“Oh, now you get my story…” I tell him as I accelerate onto the freeway.
“No problem, we have some time to kill as we go… Tell me” David said, being very friendly.
“Well,…” I began ” last May, I was between contracts…so, unemployed; and since I’m a Veteran, I decided to go through the VA’s job placement assistance program. As a matter of routine, they send everyone for a TB test and chest x-Ray. Long story short, out of the blue they came back and told me ‘Mr. Reedy, you have stage 3 lung cancer…”
“Oh my God…” David exclaimed
“Yeah, that’s what I said and a lot more… Quite honestly, I took it as a death sentence, really. But the amazing part was, I had no clue I was even sick.”
“We’re you a smoker?” David asked.
“Only since I was 12 years old… And yeah, I would get a little winded when I climbed stairs and such, but I just attributed that to being a smoker…. I had no idea I was really sick… but they went on to tell me that while I needed to begin treatment right away, they wouldn’t start my treatment until I was closer to family; they said treatment would get really rough, and I would need family around for support to do things like taking me back and forth to the hospital when it got really rough. That’s why I came to Nashville, my daughter lives here.”
“So, I put all my stuff into storage, and I came here. Now, to my advantage, the VA here is partnered with Vanderbilt Medical Center…. My Oncologist was Dr. Lehman, who did his internship at Vanderbilt, and my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Osmondson was actually on staff at Vanderbilt, where the VA sent me for radiation… And let me tell you I was given OUTSTANDING medical care.”
“Oh yeah, Vanderbilt is excellent…. And I am glad to hear positive things about the VA, because for a long time the VA was all bad news.” David interjected.
“Oh no, let me tell you, I have been to a few VA facilities around the country, and they have come a long way ever since Congress crawled up their butt with a microscope… But without a doubt, the VA here in Nashville is the most outstanding VA I have been exposed to. Three and a half months of Chemo and radiation, and my CT scan came back with ZERO CANCER! God cured me of stage 3 lung cancer.”
“God bless…. God is good” David said with a BIG smile.
“ALL THE TIME…” I completed his sentence… “Now I feel like the commercial though…. ‘But wait, there’s more…..’ Not only did God cure my cancer…. Had I not moved from Houston…. The apartment complex I had lived in was under four and a half feet of water during hurricane Harvey… Had I still been there, I would have been wiped out… So, not only did God cure my cancer, he saved me from the devastation of being wiped out by a flood…. I am TRULY blessed to have received TWO miracles in six months.”
“Praise God….” David said, “That is a truly beautiful and amazing story, thanks for sharing it with me.”
“Yes, and let me tell you…” I continued, ” I love to share my story too… People need to know that God truly is alive and still doing miracles… He continues to bless me and give me his grace every day. I’ve been telling many of my customers about the miracles given to me, and they are encouraging me to write a book about the whole experience. If I can give hope to someone that feels hopeless… well, let me tell you I was there… and I also want to give credit where credit is due.”
“Going back to the VA; here in Nashville, the VA and particularly ‘Operation Stand Down’ helped me in ways that go far above and beyond. In other areas of the country, I went to the VA, but I felt shuffled around and passed off from one person to another; but here, ‘Operation Stand Down’ is a non profit Veterans organization that is funded by the VA, and they sat me down and told me “we got your back… even if it comes down to Hospice care, we will be right there with you…” Let me tell you, that meant A LOT to me. When I arrived here homeless, they put me up in a temporary hotel and helped me find an apartment… they even gave me a bed, because they knew all my stuff was in storage, and they didn’t want me sleeping on the floor. They too were truly a blessing.”
“That’s amazing,” David responded, “Normally all you here about the VA is negative, I’m really glad to hear they did so well for you.”
“Even this job driving for Lyft was an answer to my prayers.” I continued.
“What do you mean?” David asked.
“Well, when I first got here, I was technically a homeless unemployed veteran.” I explained, “And I took the very first job I could find… ANYTHING to give me an income. That first job was as a Kroger gas station cashier, but that was only part time and only paid $8.10 an hour…. I couldn’t live on that… I couldn’t even pay my basic bills…. So I prayed to God. I said “God, I know you’re doing a lot for me already,and I am really grateful, but I need your help here… I need a better job….something I can actually live on and pay my bills.”
“It was right after I prayed that prayer, all of a sudden, all these Uber and Lyft drivers started coming in and getting gas from me. They would look at me and say ‘Dude, you could make so much more driving….’ So about 8 weeks ago I began driving full time….and sure enough… Most weeks I make almost as much if not more than I made at Kroger in a month.”
“Wow…” David was surprised “It does that well, huh? I didn’t realize.”
“Yep, well I also am pretty motivated too, I normally work about 40 to 50 hours a week, and I try to hit bonuses. But at the same time, I don’t generally work the late night bar rush… Just my preference. And that’s the nice thing… No one but me says when I work or where. It’s pretty simple… I turn it on when I want to work, and turn it off when I don’t.”
“Nice….” David said shaking his head up and down “It’s that third house up on the left…”
“Very well… It’s been a pleasure talking with you David, and I want to thank you for choosing Lyft.” I told him in an attempt to wrap things up.
“Rob, let me tell you, you have an AMAZING story, and I thank you for sharing it with me. I won’t go into detail, but let me tell you that I have had some issues struggling with my faith lately; but maybe we were brought together for a reason; because after hearing the details of your story, my faith in God and the power of his miracles is renewed… that was a message I needed to hear…so thank you. And I will look forward to reading that book!” David told me.
That made my day! “It’s coming David, and it will expand on so much more. God has given me so much to pass on. I truly have been ‘Lyfted Up’ by the Lord!”