Last month, I was about to take a taxi to my gym from my usual stop. I waved my hand and a cab stopped and a woman was about to get off. She opened the door and was yelling at the driver. She screamingly said, “how is it my problem that you’re new to the area? Don’t come and drive a taxi when you’re not familiar with the roads or have the right equipment. I am late because of you and you can’t even use the GPS, stupid man.” She slammed the door and told me to not take the taxi. Prejudice and prior experience got the worst of me in that moment, and I thought to myself, “I am sure the taxi driver must have done something and it must be his fault. He may be wanting to make an extra buck and taking the passenger in circles.”
However, as I was really getting late for my training session, I stepped into the cab. He told me, “Ma’am, if you’re OK, I am new, I will need directions. I think the GPS is taking me through different routes.” He was really polite. I was surprised by his polite behavior. Two minutes into the ride I realized that he was genuinely the politest man and his GPS, for some reason, WAS actually taking suggesting different routes. He told me if I know a shorter way, I could guide him. He was very new, just 2 days into the job and the city. He was nervous and as I probed further, I realized that he was missing his family and being away from home.
I felt sorry for him and even more so for the lady who sat in the taxi earlier. She must have been having a bad day, to have been so rude and inconsiderate. In this moment, I actually realized that the taxi driver could have spoken back to the lady but he chose not to react much and was stuck at the receiving end of anger. He was too polite to not speak about his real situation and thought it might not be “appropriate” to say anything. As I got to know, he felt that he may sound rude or impolite, if he “argued” with the lady. He felt the only way he could have communicated Continue reading “The negatives of being too “polite,” when you can communicate effectively, differently.”