OTWC #011: What Becoming a Two-Wheeled Mule Taught Me About Humans

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash


Today was an amazing day, I became a “professional cyclist,” gave some consulation work to two current clients, AND closed a new client. Cool stuff! As much as I love talking about my clients and their successes, my heart is longing to write about my first ever shift as a “professional cyclist”.

I founded my business, StoryWand, on the principle of “Do What You Love, and Find Someone to Pay You To Do It” (apologies for the annoying Capitalising Every Letter), and was looking to find other ways of integrating that philosophy into my life.

I love cycling and I love exercise…how can I get paid for that without them impacting too much on my life?

Enter Deliveroo.

For those of you that don’t live in the UK (or a major city), Deliveroo is a two-wheeled food courier service. If you have a bike, scooter, or motorbike, you can become a professional food deliverer! What makes it special is that you have an app that you turn on and you get summoned to a restaurant, and then a home, and then ANOTHER restaurant, and then ANOTHER home, and so on and so forth, until you get bored or tired etc.

What’s great about it is that it’s entirely optional work, if you want to do some cycling and earn some money, just turn on the app. If you feel like eating pizza in your underwear and binge watching old speed-running videos, you can ignore the app.

There’s something amazing about working in the service industry. Immediately when you walk into a restaurant, the staff get it. Instead of the I’m-polite-to-you-because-if-I’m-not-you-might-complain veneer is instantly stripped away and you connect with these people. One look communicates a tonne, and that look says “We’re at work and most of the people that we help will be entitled and not look at us as humans but as food gatherers in service to them”.

That’s not to say that my experiences within the hospitality industry haven’t been all bad. People are mostly…accepting, I’m struggling to find the right word and I’ve already over used the explaining-something-using-hyphenated-words-to-suggest-that-it’s-a-single-thought once this post. When you work in the service industry, you’re trying your best to make sure that the people you’re serving have the best time possible.

This takes a lot of work that has to look effortless.

Like when a server has had a really shitty day, but still laughs at the same joke they’ve heard multiple times that day or that they’ve stayed up all night learning the layout of the restaurant to maximise the speed of service that you receive or creating a new written language for themselves so that they can quickly understand and memorise your order.

Now I get it, their (our) jobs are to provide a great service, but it’s often unappreciated the amount of effort goes into smiling and trying to give the person you’re serving a genuine, if only brief, connection.

In the three hours that I cycled round Hammersmith and Shepard’s bush, and after climbing stairs, navigating Google Maps and real life’s ongoing inability to communicate with each other, one person thanked me for bringing them food.
And that made all the difference.

We (collective: me, you, everyone) don’t work for the praise but Holy Shit does it feel great when someone looks you in the eye and genuinely appreciates the work we’ve just done. A simple “thanks” with eye contact and a genuine smile, and the part that amazed me was that only a single person managed that.

Coincidentally, today I’ve been writing articles about the science behind gratitude and how it will literally save your life. But that was all head learning, and I’m sure we all know about the self-centered reasons why we should be grateful (live longer, less stressed, sleep better) but what about how gratitude affects others?

We live in a world that is dominated by the service industry, and to be frank, delivering food or waiting tables can (and should) be done by robots. But not yet. So, why is it that most people (in this case 87.5%) treat others like machines?

One of the biggest “red flags” in dating is “being rude to waiting staff,” isn’t it incredible that that is such a prevalent problem it warrants humans needing to tell other humans to not treat the humans that help them like that?! Now I’m sure you’re thinking “well I don’t do that!” and if I read this I would think that too. But then I remember all the times I didn’t give that person that has helped me have a more pleasant day the recognition that they deserved.

My favourite Gandhi quote is “Be the Change You Want to See” (sorry, I did the Capitalise Thing Again). You want the world to be a better place? Make it better. It’s up to you, and we as a human race shouldn’t need to be told that we should appreciate those around us.

Total Words: 829

Rules of the 1,000 word challenge:
1. I write till I reach 30 minutes or 1,000 words
2. I have to post without editing
3. I can’t write about pre-determined topics (but sometimes I can)
4. If I miss a day, I need to make up for it later
5. I’ll come up with more rules later