“I want to help people!” I told my taxi driver. A talkative fellow—curious about life in general. I had opened up to him 10-minutes into entering his cab.
“Why do you want to help people?” He inquired.
“I don’t know why.” I replied, as honestly as I could. “It’s a selfish reason why.”
“Let me hear it?” He sounded curious.
“I feel good about it.” I said. “Like I am doing something that has value in it.”
“I see,” he replied, matter-of-factly.
“Why did you say—I see—like that?” His tone sort of upset me. It seemed a little patronizing.
“You didn’t sound convinced when you said you like helping others.” He explained.
“Well, sometimes—I get taken for a ride. May be, that’s why.” I said. “People aren’t usually good to people who are good to them.”
“And you know you are—?” He paused. Did he mean—a good person?
“I am sorry—what are you really trying to say?” I was confused which way the conversation was headed.
“Sure. Let me try and explain myself.” He said.
“I am all ears!” I replied, eager for a twist in the tale.
“It’s a short story, if you have the time?” He asked.
“All the time in the world,” I said.
“Once upon a time there was a scorpion…” The driver started his story.
“The scorpion fell into a lake and was about to drown, when a man saw him. The man decided to save the scorpion, by trying to pull him out of the water.”
“Wait—can scorpions really drown? I interrupted. “I thought they could swim!”
“It’s a story.” The driver cut me short. “Have patience. How else will you help people?” He lectured me, like my father would.
I was quiet now. The driver continued telling his tale, and his protagonist continued trying to rescue the scorpion.
“The man was not alone.” The driver told me. “A passerby was watching the entire ordeal play out in front of his eyes.
He felt sorry for the man. He tried to stop him from saving the scorpion. Didn’t he know if the scorpion survived—it would be sure to kill him? ”
“What happened next?” I asked, interest peeking.
“The man smiled at the passerby saying, ‘I know you’re probably right. Once the scorpion is out of the water, it might try and sting me.
Then I think to myself. If someone risked his life to save the scorpion and despite that the scorpion doesn’t change its behavior—why should I?’ “