This morning on the way to the airport I met the loveliest man. He is a taxi driver who has lived in Australia for 17 years but originally hails from Iraq. We talked of little things, but he uplifted me with his conversation and his kindness. Every word he said carried his gratitude and joy at his circumstances. He praised the weather for something different, celebrated the 4am start because he could choose his own hours, he forgave drunkards and thieves who tried to offend him. He spoke of his travels, and how Perth is his favourite place in the world, where he once witnessed strangers stopping to jacklift a broken car. In Iraq, they would have just been killed and their car stolen. He praised the existence of the welfare system, where elderly citizens get wages from the government and have a superannuation so that they won’t starve and die without family support. We parted as friends and I wished him the best.
Unfortunately he dropped me off at the wrong terminal (due largely to my lack of specificity). I caught another taxi to the right location, and the driver was a harsh juxtaposition. His strong Australian accent barbed me as he complained about other drivers, the internet speed on his phone, the road design and the airport layout. He was polite enough in exchanging jokes, but his attitude was condescending and he capitalised on the mistakes of others.
I would rather be like the first man, grateful for the air I breathe and the sky I see. More and more I think that the greatest happiness is appreciating what you have.