+
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.”









This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less