5 things I learned from a driver in Delhi

On a recent trip to Delhi, I had the chance to engage in conversations with drivers on a couple of occassions. Since the journey on both trips lasted for more than a couple of hours, I had the chance to delve into the lives of a driver and was highly impressed with them, their beliefs and the way they live their lives. – truly King Size. Overwhelmed with the chat, I wish to share my experience and learnings from them.

No, not the image of any of those drivers

1. Work while you work and when in need, JUST WORK! [The drivers here don’t sleep for 24-30 hours on the trot].
Karan, a driver, was there to drop a colleague one day. The next day I called a cab, Karan was again there, though he had come to pick someone else, I chatted with him for a while and got to know that he hadn’t slept since then – 32 hours! In this case, his need is money. He would sleep 10-12 hours a week, work the rest and then rush off to spend the weekend with his parents.

2. Respect your job/profession like anything.
Rajkumar, another driver, was a class 12th passout, still he was driving a vehicle for living. He knows how to operate a computer and understands what a pen drive is. When I got to know that I told him that he could get a better job if he wants – his reply simply stunned me. “Sir – Main dilli aaya tha job dhundne. Jab 6 mahine tak naukri nhi mili to maine gaadi chalane se hi kamana shuru kiya hai, isi se kamaye paise se apni behn ki shaadi ki hai aur pitaji ko dukan khulvayi hai, ab agar ise thokar maarkar kuch aur karunga to yeh is naukri aur mere liye dhokha aur sharm ki baat hogi” (Sir – I came to Delhi in search for a job. But after 6 months of unsuccessful job hunting, I started earning through this profession, married my sister and bought my father a shop with the money I’ve earned through Driving, Now if I kick this profession and switch to another, it would be a disgrace to me and my profession.)

3. Respect your subordinates, give them more than they want and they would reciprocate – Learnt from his employer
Rajkumar’s employer started with 3 cars, now he owns a fleet of 82 cars, just within 6 years of operations. Still, he drives the cars, plays cards and dines with his drivers only. Shows no signs of a bossy attitude. How does that help? His drivers are available on a call 24×7 happily and have never let him down in the 6 years of his company’s history.

4. Build trust. It pays you more than anything else in your life.
The driver’s sister had to get married. His employer, without even telling him, transferred 1 Lac Rupees in the driver’s father’s account, and told the father that it was a part of his son’s pending salary. Two months later the driver got to know about that, when his father asked him what was his profession that he earns so much. Rajkumar, though explained, but was stunned to know that. 6 months was all that he took to repay the money, 99% of us cannot do that, especially at a driver’s wage! Just shows the trust Rajkumar has built with his employer. Reminds me, even I have huge pending debts, less than Rajkumar’s and my salary is more than him….

5. Build relations, money is secondary.
Rajkumar told me that people who travel in his cab often give him a tip, depending on the financial status of the traveller. When I got down and offered him a small tip, he refused to take it – “Sir, aap mujhe sharminda kar rhe hain, aapse to dosti karli hai, ye nahi le sakta main” (Sir, you are making me feel embarrassed, I have built a friendship with you, I can’t take this).
Another incidence same day, the first driver, Karan, called me next day to find out whether the colleague whom he dropped the previous day had reached his destination perfectly or not? Never seen a driver/stranger to that. I obliged and talked to him over the phone for a while. After 10-15 mins he said, “Sir itni der to meri setting bhi mujhse baat nhi karti, mujhe bahut achha laga aapne itni der baat kari mujhse“. (Sir, I even my girlfriend doesn’t talk to me for so long, I am really glad that you did). To end the conversation, he even offered me to shift to gurgaon and he would assist me in finding accommodation at the cheapest prices, even though I don’t plan to shift, I was moved with his gesture, especially in the tone in which he said that!

Just to mention why I say they live King Size – Both the drivers had almost double the salary offers from different organizations, but they had refused for reasons highly unknown in today’s world – Freedom, Respect and Loyalty to their current employer!

Probably we can learn something from them. What is that you would want to learn from them?