“Why don’t you make people part of your journey as you’re part of theirs?” Weiser recalled his friend saying.
Weiser, 66, is a former Navy and corporate pilot who started driving for Uber late last year as a way to keep busy. “You never really retire, you always have to do something,” he said.
A self-proclaimed eternal optimist, Weiser is full of these kinds of quotable takes on life.
Excited by the idea that his riders would memorialize their brief time with him, he purchased a black leather-bound notebook in March. On the inside cover, where there’s a place to name whose journal it is, he wrote that it belongs to: “All that read it with an open heart and mind.”
Now, when riders get in his car, after the exchange of pleasantries, he’ll pass them the book and ask if they’d take a moment to write something in it.
He tells them he’s looking for “a mantra, or a credo, or a quote that you like. Something your parents may have given you, some words of wisdom,” he said.
He has collected more than 800 entries from riders from all over the world. (See some of the pages below.) Some are written in other languages, some are personal, some borrow famous quotes, some thank Weiser for his kindness.
On April 1, Jenny wrote: “Here’s to making life simpler! Thanks for the ride –now I can enjoy mine!” On Aug. 8, Hailey wrote: “Thanks for making my day a little brighter.” Then she drew a photo of the moon, and added: “The moon is beautiful because of all its craters and imperfections.” On Sept. 6, Dave wrote: “The only normal people in the world are the only people you don’t know.”
Weiser recalled one woman who wrote Mahatma Gandhi‘s “Be the change you want to see.” Then she flipped back and saw someone else had used the same famous quote the day before. She told him she was embarrassed and he said to her, “No, that’s okay. That’s the type of energy that has been in this vehicle, nothing but good energy.”
The log is as much for him as it is for them, he said. After his riders write something they’ll flip through the pages, taking in all the advice and sentiments shared by the passengers who came before them. Most chuckle when they read the one about staying away from Russian men, Weiser said.
He flips through it himself from time to time, revisiting old passages, and astonishing himself all over again how much warmth and positivity people have to share. No one has written anything negative, and only a handful have turned him down, mostly because they have motion sickness.
“We’re all moving and what I’m trying to do is take a little bit of it, the 15 minutes maybe that someone is with me, and just see what they’ve seen, what they’ve experienced,” Weiser said. “And that’s what I’m coming away with.”