Moments after stepping into Robert’s car at Cape Town International Airport, he started pouring out his heart to me. This was not going to be an ordinary Uber ride.
A Memorable Uber Trip In Cape Town
Robert, who said he was named after the late Robert Mugabe, was from Zimbabwe. He escaped that failed state in order to seek survival in South Africa and support his family who remain in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.
Our conversation started when he asked me where I was from. When I said the United States, he put up his thumb and said, “Make America Great Again!” We both chuckled. I reciprocated and he told me he was from “Zim” (as he called it). Depending upon your political outlook, he was an illegal alien or undocumented immigrant.
Working construction jobs and driving Uber, Robert worked 12-18 hours a day. He sent all the money home, living in a shared apartment with five other guys. You might think someone who has to live off the grid might be resentful, but Robert was the opposite. He expressed remarkable gratitude for the chance to live and work in South Africa. He also expressed hope that one day he could return to Zim.
Our journey from the airport into town was brief, only taking about 15 minutes. But I stepped out of the car both humbled and encouraged. Humbled, because this dear man who should be enjoying his youth is instead laboring away seven days a week to support his family. Encouraged, because this is the recurring story of immigrants in new lands.
He didn’t hit me up for money, in case you are wondering. I did tip him. Uber in South Africa is incredibly cheap to start with. While I will not condone illegal border crossings, it is hard to fault Robert for simply trying to survive. South Africa has all kinds of problems of its own and it seems to me that people like Robert are well-suited to help that nation forward.
This story is part of my An African Adventure As The World Shut Down trip report.
This scum is stealing our jobs. You wonder why the South African economy is so bad it is because of people like this who cross over our borders and steal our jobs.
Not related to this article but any chance you could cover IHG’s refusal to extend the credit card free nights expiring Dec 31, 2020 despite travel advisories and inability for many members to travel right now. I think it’s really despicable of them and it would be great if it got more coverage.
I had 2 expiring 12/31/2020. Couldn’t find anywhere to use them. Thankfully the Hotel Indigo in Paris lowered it’s award price in points to 40k at the last minute in October and I burned those 2 and 2 others in our accounts for a 4 night stay. I was glad to get rid of them, but I agree they should absolutely be extended. If this hotel hadn’t dropped in price last minute, 2 of my certs would have expired unused (I had no interest staying in a hotel in the suburbs or at CDG).
Zimbabwe is like mexico. South africa is like US. Whites there are like republicans here, well meaning on a spiritual level but practically aholes. South African blacks are like blacks in the US. Entitled. They expect to be given everything because their forefathers, whom they would not normally care about, were brutalized.
I don’t know who the virtue signaling liberals there are? Probably posting like me on this blog.
What a beautiful country. Too many lazy people there. And too many aholes on the top of the food chain like here.
It’s refreshing to get away from the entitled brats here that think their want is everyone else’s responsibility.
Nice profile. There is a difference between the dignity of individuals and the decisions the make versus the macro policies and laws that tacitly allow this and result in negative externalities on the host country, which you highlighted well.
Not the best situation riding in a car with a guy who’s been working 18 hours. He’s putting his customers’ lives in peril.
Also, here’s an illegal alien who is driving passengers around. What happens if an issue arises? Does Uber not conduct background checks on their drivers? Do they have any liability?
The guy is working. The system there isn’t where you can come and then receive public benefits. If there are public benefits, then you have to restrict how many come. If the public benefits are many, then you have to restrict even more or millions will come to get these benefits.
We’ve heard complaints about immigration from people when we visit South Africa. Apparently, as the only First World Country in Africa, South Africa is a huge magnet for the less fortunate across the entire continent.
Like here, a lot of the immigrants work ahead to provide for family back home and some not so much.