Flip The Script: My Brother's Story
A sponsored post in partnership with Uber. All opinions are my own.
As someone who is constantly traveling and visiting new places, I've previously mentioned how Uber—an app that allows users to instantly connect with and request drivers, on demand—has become an integral part of my life. Whether purposely or not, my life has always been built in a city where drivers are the norm or public transportation is prevalent. That being said, I've never felt the need to learn how to drive; a price I paid steeply once my adventures began. Thankfully, Uber has been my savior and has not let me down; I've consistently relied on it to get me just where I need to be.
Part of what appeals to me the most about Uber are the affordable prices and flexibility it allows me to have. I can schedule rides in advance, keep track of exactly where my ride is, and if my plan suddenly changes, I have the ability and the freedom to instantly update my destination address so that it reflects the change. The other part that appeals to me is something I look forward to during my rides to unfamiliar territories: the suggestions of the local drivers on things to do and where to eat. This usually leads to deeper conversations, revealing the different layers of their stories.
The stories shared on this platform are typically about myself: my style, my interests, and my lifestyle. This time around, when Uber reached out about the idea to pair me with one of their driver-partners to give light to their story, I quickly accepted with eagerness. Given the opportunity to literally flip the script, this tale is about my brother—Ithamar, his dreams and goals, and his experience on the other end of the spectrum.
Set to meet up at a park near his apartment in Queens, Ithamar quickly changed the location at the eleventh hour. He wanted to drive to a more familiar park in Forest Hills—his old stomping ground. Dressed in a shirt similar to the one I wore and washed jeans, he was eager and ready to share his story. Blasting Haitian carnivalesque music and singing along, Ithamar drove along the highway for about fifteen minutes before we reached our destination. There, he stepped out of the car and motioned the walkway. As we strolled along, we chatted about some of his latest wild encounters, his current path in life, and his music.
I call him Thamy.
Thamy is a NYC native. He embodies the spirit of the city that never sleeps. A workaholic by default, or perhaps by genetics, the hustle never stops for him. He's an unconventional guy, a conversationalist with a reserved personality, and yet when he does open up, he reveals a goofy side that's quite contagious. He appreciates fashion, but his style of choice is uniform. He's a mechanic by trade, he enjoys tearing things apart and putting them back together. He loves to build anything that requires working with his hands using precision and finesse. He's a swim instructor and a lifeguard. He may be jack of all trades, but one thing Thamy is passionate about above all is music.
Raised in Haiti, where music is deeply rooted in the culture and in our family, Thamy developed a peculiar appreciation for the composition and sound of music. Gifted with a beautiful voice, a trait shared with his mother, he knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career as a musical artist. His ultimate dream is to become a famous artist whose music resonates around the world. The path, however, has not always been easy nor clear.
Struggling to sustain himself as a full-time musician, about nine months ago, Thamy decided to give Uber a shot. He had heard about the perks of being a driver-partner and the flexibility that came along with it; it was time to give it a try.
Thamy was brought up in an entrepreneurial household, with both of our parents being founders and principals of a private school. Always encouraging us to forge our own ways, the idea of a typical 9-5 job was somewhat of an alien concept to him. Having the freedom to work at his convenience influenced his decision to sign up as a driver-partner. "With Uber, I don't have someone breathing down my neck if I'm late or decide to take off a day or two," he says.
Within the short period of time, Thamy was able to get his own place and his own car, and he's working on setting up his music studio. He credits the support of his family for his fortune, as well as Uber for making it possible for him to gain financial freedom to sustain himself and fund his music. He loves being able to set his own schedule, which grants him the time and privilege to work on other projects.
It has been quite the journey for him over the past nine months as he recounts some of his experiences driving riders around—some very sweet and others rather wild. He vividly describes the nice gesture of one particular guy who made a stop at a food shop and bought him a plate from the Jamaican spot. There was the woman who blatantly flirted with him in the hopes of igniting a romance, he jokes. When asked about his favorite part of the gig, he simply states "Just like music, Uber has allowed me to meet new people from all walks of life and helped further my career and dreams."
To the artists and unconventional young men considering signing up with Uber, Thamy recommends making the leap. It can be the main source or an additional source of income. His advice on getting the most out of Uber is to work smart and take advantage of the incentives. Taking the time to get familiar with the app guarantees a smooth ride for both parties every time, he says. Among his favorite features are the Profile and Calling options which grants him direct contact with the riders, in case they're not punctual; and the Instant Pay as it allows him to cash out all of his earnings at once at any given time without having to wait.
"Most people wait until Friday or every couple of weeks to get paid, I can get my money sent to me five times in one day," Thamy says. "I dont know of any other company that you work with that allows one to do that; it's pretty amazing."
"The day I finally got my own place and felt fully independent," Thamy says about the happiest moment in his life. "I'm a full-time musician, I've been writing and composing music for as long as I can remember. But I'm not famous yet, and I could not afford it with my music's income. Without Uber, I would not have to able to do so this quickly. It's a very important stepping-stone in my life, one I had difficulty going over."
If there's one takeaway from Thamy's story, it's that it's possible to live freely and continue to dream big.