Happiness in a taxi ride

Many of you remember my video from my first day in El Salvador. The video was of my taxi ride from the airport. My good friend Irene sent her taxi driver of many years, to come pick me up.

Perhaps it’s his name, Arquimedes, that makes him special, that gives him insight that many of us lack. In the video, he is the one in the passenger seat. His cousin Roberto Carlos is driving because Arquimedes’ car was in the shop, something that occurs often for Arquimedes. But he doesn’t mind.


Since this day Arquimedes has taken my friends and me to many places. I have come to look forward to my rides with him. You see, he is always smiling, always has a joke to tell. Whenever I ask him how he is doing he says “Muy bien, aqui con mucho trabajo gracias a dios.”

I consider myself to be a happy person, more or less. I sometimes have trouble moving past bumps in the road. I too often focus on what is wrong, instead of what is right, what I have to be thankful for. This is something I work on everyday.

I have asked Arquimedes a few times why he is always so happy. I do this often. I like to ask people who appear to be, generally really happy people, why they are this way. I mean, perhaps I missing something, perhaps they can impart some words of wisdom. Usually I am and usually they do.

Arquimedes tells me he is a happy person. He likes his job. His happiness, he says, is in putting a smile on others’ faces. This morning he told me there are so many sad and poor people in El Salvador that he wants to make people happy. What a beautiful sentiment: to measure our own happiness by the joy we bring to others. As my father would say in “being of service to others.”

Now I understand that we are each responsible for our own happiness. Only ‘I’ can make ‘me’ happy, relaxed, grateful, peaceful, etc. But as a person who is affected by the energy of other people, I realize the importance of treating people with kindness. I’ll give you another example. I went to the post office here in San Salvador on Monday. I was having a bit of a rough day. After I left that post office I felt great. I wanted to smile at everyone. I just sent a package. But the employees were so kind. We talked about Christmas, family, love, education…and I could feel their positive energy, and the genuine nature of our exchange. This always amazes me, how a small interaction with someone can change your day. I love it.

I am going to truly miss Arquimedes when I leave. I need to tell him that. The only interaction we have is in the car, going from one place to another, but he has a major impact on my day. This morning I told him I would like to ride with him one day for a few hours. I like the idea of seeing all the different types of people he picks up and all the areas of the city and countryside he travels. I hope to take some pictures and do an interview with him. I’ll be sure to share when I do. I am sure each of you has someone like this in your life. Take some time to ask them what makes them tick. At the very least, you won’t miss the opportunity to let them know, they make you want to be a better person.


About almadeelsalvador

I am a multimedia journalist working in San Salvador, El Salvador.

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