As we begin gearing up to heartily celebrate how blessed as Americans we are on the 4th (already bought the brats and corn-on-the-cob that we’ll grill here on Miami Beach :), I’m remembering a conversation I had with a young cab driver a few years ago on my ride home from the airport.

Getting in the car, I had commented on how comfortable and immaculate it was. As handsome and polished as his vehicle, the man thanked me profusely, saying that not everyone would notice, much less pay him the compliment. I smiled and acknowledged that I tend to take nothing and no one for granted. And that was all he needed to hear …

Catching my eye in the rear view mirror, he spoke in an elegant, lyrical Haitian baritone, saying, “I feel the same as you, but not everyone sees things our way! I recently drove a man to a meeting 90 minutes away. For the first 45 minutes, I listened to him complain about everything from the traffic to the weather to the economy to the resort where he would be staying. He had only negative, thankless things to say. Finally, I could not take it anymore. I pulled over and turned to him and said, ‘Sir, please stop. I can no longer listen to this. I am from Haiti where, not so long ago, hundreds of thousands of my countrymen died in less than a minute. Many now eat dirt. Dirt, sir. They have nothing more.’”

Dumbstruck, I could only mumble, “wow,” and he continued, “I said to the man, ‘Please be grateful for all you have.’ I asked him, ‘Do you not see all that you have here in this great country? Are you unable to see that you have the comfort of this car and the money to pay me a large sum for taking you in your expensive clothes to one of the most exclusive hotels in the world? Can you not see how fortunate you are?’ I told him that sometimes I pray, ‘God, you have given me so much in this country, and for this I thank you. Please, whatever you plan to give me next, give it to those still living in my homeland, for they have so little.’ I said, ‘As Americans, we are very blessed, sir. Now may we just be quiet and ride?’”

In the rush of the coming days, and in the midst of family and friends and fabulous fireworks that cost a small fortune, may you find a quiet moment to ride a wave of gratitude for all we have and are as Americans. As the card says, “God Bless America … and God bless you.”

~ jodee stevens
founder & creative director

One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this story–sometimes we all need to be reminded. We’ll miss seeing you in Miami this Fourth of July and hope to make it there soon–maybe later this summer! Til then, xoxo

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