When I was 18 I was an office assistant at a carpet warehouse in Oakland, Ca. I was right out of highschool and it was my third job experience. I didn’t have a car so I was an AC Transit bus expert and walked everywhere that distance allowed.
This job, however, I didn’t have to do either. Another person in the office, who told me about the job, happened to live across the street from a best friend I went to highschool with. And I lived a short distance from them, so she offered to be my transportation. It was perfect.
A day came when she had to leave work early because of a personal emergency. Another assistant, Lisa, in her early 30’s, lived in the same city as us so she asked her to give me a ride home. With a big smile, Lisa expressed it was no problem.
I’ll never forget what happened during that car ride.
The conversation went as follows:
Lisa: Hey Leah, you know it would be beneficial for everyone if you would get your own car.
Me: (Pause for being thrown off guard) I would love to have my own car, but it’s not a possibility right now.
Lisa: The thing is, Rosie has her own life. She has a husband and kids and she doesn’t need…this burden. I mean she’s using her gas to give you a ride. And I have a family as well, now I’m using my gas.
( What. The. Hell. Has this woman ever heard of carpooling!? Besides, I lived 2 minutes from Rosie, and 5 minutes from her. I also never asked Rosie to be my transportation, it was offered to me.)
(Sidenote: I was first hired on a temporary basis to do Lisa’s job while she went on a leave of absence. I did so well they kept me. She didn’t like that. She even went so far as to ask the manager of the office why was I still there. She was politely told it was none of her business.)
Me: Well, I do fill her gas tank at the end of every week. I offered that as part of our deal, because I wouldn’t let her give me a ride otherwise.
Lisa: When I was your age, my parents bought me this beautiful white mustang. There’s nothing wrong with parents buying their kids first car. You should talk to your parents about getting you a car. What parents wouldn’t?
Me: You know what, to be honest with you, I’m making the payments on my parents car, so I don’t think that will happen any time soon. So, like I said, getting my own car isn’t possible right now.
(Silence for what’s left of the car ride)
Me: (Getting out of the car) Thank you, see you tomorrow.
That 20 minute car ride is in my top 10 most uncomfortable moments.
P.S. (3 years later I bought my own car and I no longer worked there)