A refreshing taxi ride

2009 November 13
by Evan Lenz

taxiLast month, I got into a taxi cab after a whirlwind business trip. I was tired and ready to crash, er, sleep, on the airplane. I wasn’t feeling particularly outgoing. Even so, I engaged in some minimal small talk with the taxi driver. I saw a photo of a little girl on the dash. “Is that your daughter?” So it was. Shortly thereafter I had to explain that “What grade are your kids in?” is N/A for my family. “They go to a non-traditional school.” I would have been happy to leave it at that. But ’twas not meant to be.

Before I knew it, I was expounding on the wonders of a Sudbury education, what a gift it is to children, how amazingly well-adjusted Sudbury school students are, how in touch graduates are with who they are and what they want, how they learn responsibility by being given responsibility, how they respect others and are themselves respected. At each stage, I expected him to say, “That sounds nice, but what about ____?” For example, when I told him that each student has a vote that’s equal to any staff member’s and that staff are voted in (and out)—when I told him that, like most people, he was astounded. But unlike most people, he didn’t get stuck there. He just wanted to hear more. So I kept going.

By the time we reached the airport, I was already flying high. How big a difference it makes when people respond with open minds! When sharing something you’re passionate about doesn’t turn into a big, adversarial debate! I don’t know what this man will do with the information. I don’t know if he’ll be pulling his daughter out of school anytime soon. But I definitely felt his sincere appreciation for all the new information I was telling him. “God bless you. You’ve taught me a big thing today.” And I in turn was very thankful for his expression of gratitude and the jolt of energy it gave me. Who would have thought a taxi ride could be so refreshing?

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