How to Start a Conversation with Your Muslim Uber Driver

Your phone pings: Uber is en route and your driver’s name is Farouk. You can react in one of three ways, I suppose. A. “Cool. Wonder where he’s from.” B. “Ah, geesh, another foreign Uber driver.” or C. “Sure hope Farouk keeps his car cleaner than that dope Doug who drove me to the airport last week!”

If you’re B, even a very tentative B, this is for you. 

As you slide into the car you think, “I want to talk to Farouk. I should. Jesus would.”

You evaluate the risk: On the imagined downside you bomb the convo, Farouk gets angry and the ride is awkward. He goes on to hate Christians, gets radicalized and leaves to fight pointless battles in far off lands.

On the upside, you learn a couple words of Arabic or Urdu, get invited to Farouk’s mom’s house for dinner and he spends a portion of the drive smiling the smile of someone who senses he’s being honored.

Here’s a script to get you going (Adapt as needed, but stick the landing!)

“How do you pronounce your name?” (Unless he told you!)

“Did you grow up here?”

“Where are you from?” (If the previous answer is negative!)

“I’ve never been there. Is it beautiful?” (Unless you have and it’s not!)

“Do you get to go back and visit?”

“How long have you been here?” (Anything less than 10 years gets a hearty “Welcome” from me!)

(No particular order on the next three.)

“How have you been treated?”

“Have you visited other places?”

“Got kids?”

“Do you have another job in addition to Uber?” (Doesn’t everyone?!?)

“I love to pray for people. I believe Jesus heals and helps people today. How can I pray for you?” (Do your best to get to this. If you can do so logistically and without fainting, pray for him right then out loud.)

Let me know when you give it a go and I’ll hit you with a virtual high five!

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