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uber driver, caregiver, ohio

Uber driver befriends her 88-year-old passenger.

A chance meeting between an Uber driver and an 88-year-old man with dementia has completely changed both of their lives for the better.

In March 2020, Paul Webb of Columbus, Ohio called for an Uber to take him to the Verizon store to fix his broken cell phone. Luckily for Webb, he was picked up by Jenni Tekletsion, 52, in her Toyota RAV 4 for the short trip.

"When he called for a ride—when he just talked to me by phone—I knew this guy, I’m going to take care of him,” she told ABC6.

“She was very personable, easy to talk to,” Webb told The Washington Post.

Two decades ago, Tekletsion emigrated to the United States from Ethiopia. She drives an Uber on the weekends to send money back to orphanages in her country of birth. At the same time, she had a job as a banker for a financial institution while simultaneously working on her doctorate in business administration.


A few minutes into the ride, Tekletsion began to feel bad for Webb. “I could tell how lonely he was,” she said. “I had a feeling that he needed help. I told him I live nearby his house, so I said, ‘From now on, when you need a ride, just call me.’"

The next day, Webb took her up on the offer for a ride to a nearby gas station to get some milk.

Over the next few weeks, he continued to call Tekletsion and she also would stop by his house to check on him. “I started coming here every single day after work to take him out to eat,” she told The Washington Post.

For a year, the two shared a meal together every day, alternating between who would pick up the check. Tekletsion also drove him wherever he needed to go, whether it was the supermarket or a doctor’s appointment.

As their relationship grew, Webb’s health began to decline and in April of this year, Tekletsion decided to quit her job to become his full-time caregiver. The pay was half of what she was used to making, but the benefit of helping her friend more than made up for the difference. Her husband works three jobs so she had the financial flexibility to make it happen.

However, at first, she had to convince Webb's two children, Keith and Melanie, who were skeptical of their relationship.

“The hardest part was to build trust with his children,” Tekletsion told The Washington Post. “I explained to them who I am and where I come from, and that I don’t need anything from Paul, but I want to take care of him and help him in his daily life.”

But she soon won his children over with her pure dedication.

“Consistency. She was real. She did what she said she was going to do, and she did it in a way that was genuine," Keith told ABC6. “She’s the same. In a world that’s ever-changing, rarely will you find someone who does not change. She’s the same. To this day, it’s mind-blowing.”

Tekletsion and Webb’s friendship is a wonderful example of what can happen when people who need help are able to find big-hearted people who are ready to give. And to think it all began with a simple rideshare.

“How lucky am I to get to spend my days with Paul?” she said. “It was the best decision I ever made.”









Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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