How to “Lyft” People Up with Happiness


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Spreading happiness can connect us with more colleagues and more clients.

A few weeks ago, I waited outside the Houston airport for my Lyft driver to take me and my family to a cruise ship out of Galveston. Our driver arrived in a beat-up Ford pickup, grabbed our bags, threw them in the flatbed, and opened the doors for us.

My first reaction was, “This drive is going to suck.” All I wanted after a long flight was to have a mildly comfortable ride to my destination. As a result, I wasn’t in chatty mode and wasn’t looking to make a new Lyft driver friend. He, on the other hand, acted like he just picked up the Kardashians and enthusiastically fired off some initial questions. This elderly man, who introduced himself as Jeremiah, asked us questions such as, “Where you from?” “What’s it like there?” “Are you going on vacation?” “Where to?”

As he turned his head, I noticed he was wearing a faded purple hat that said, “Ask Me About Jesus.” Of course, I had to do it, so I followed with, “Tell me about Jesus and that hat of yours.” Jeremiah got a big smile on his face and began to tell us how Jesus was all he ever needed in his life. He said, “Can you imagine how good each day is because we know Jesus is looking out for us? My wife and I are blessed every day!” The more he talked about who and what he loved, the bigger his smile got and the more excited he became. I got a bit edgy each time he pulled one hand off the steering wheel as he began banging the dashboard each time he made a point. The man was on fire!

Infectious happiness

His energy quickly took me out of my grumpy mood and with each sentence, I became even more curious about what made this guy so happy. I asked him where he was from, what it was like where he lived, and where he liked to spend time. Without breaking a smile, he said, “I love to fish in-between my dialysis treatments, doctors’ appointments, and teaching Sunday school. In fact, take a look over there,” he said, pointing to a spot we were driving by, “that’s one of my favorite places to go when I get away. I just sit there and fish. I like to think about everything, and that’s one spot I find a lotta peace.”

When we finally arrived at our cruise ship, Jeremiah got out of his Ford F-minus 150, gazed up in awe at the cruise ship, and said, “My goodness, have you ever seen something so amazing? You are all so blessed that you get to go on that together as a family. I can’t wait to tell my wife about that boat and my new friends who were going on it. Oooo baaaby are you people going to have a great time.”

Throughout the week I texted Jeremiah pictures of the ship, the ocean, and the beaches he has never seen. At first, I think I was doing it because I felt bad and even guilty that such an amazing man has not and will not ever get to see the things my family would see that week. But then I realized that Jeremiah didn’t need or require it. This guy was genuinely happy that other people, people he had just met, were getting a chance to do it. Who thinks that way?

Jeremiah, the Lyft driver, gave my family an amazing gift that day. His gift to us was his happiness. The joy I got from being in this man’s presence was better than any beverage, snorkeling tour, or Macarena dance I got to see that week. The reminder to me was that happiness doesn’t come from “things.” It comes from how much happiness we bring to others. And whether he meant to do it or not, over the past few weeks when I find myself complaining about little things, I think about how an old, skinny, diabetic Lyft driver has as much power as any human on earth to move the planet. We all have the same power as Jeremiah. That’s the power to change others through selflessness, humility, and love.

So this year, I plan on trying to be a lot more like Jeremiah by trying to spread more happiness. (It’s not easy!) And as salespeople or company leaders, we can’t forget that the byproduct of spreading happiness is that we emotionally connect with more colleagues and more clients. That usually results in more purchase orders. But if we are like Jeremiah, it’s not why we are doing it.


As Founder of PRECISE Selling, Brian Sullivan helps improve sales, customer service, negotiations, leadership, and presentation skills through seminars and Internet training programs. For more on his speaking, consulting, or books, visit or email: [email protected].