A conversation with an international traveller who operates as an Uber driver back in his native land set my mind into motion and had me thinking about quite a few things, one of which is just how much we actually trust total strangers. It’s not a matter of being naive or gullible, but we in a sense don’t have a choice but to trust complete strangers more than we may even know, at times.
I guess it’s just part of being human and it’s what co-existence is all about.
This Uber driver told me about how much of a struggle it can sometimes be operating as an Uber driver back in his native land, with regards to safety. While the service works pretty much everywhere where there are busy people all around, there are some areas passengers want to go to which make the drivers cringe at the thought of a possibility of getting robbed or something.
This in itself just highlighted to me that there is a level of trust which is required of us in just about every scenario these days, whether you’re booking an AirBnB or indeed if you’re catching an Uber.
It gets really, really deep though because the more one thinks about it, the more you realise that whether we like it or not, society is built on what can be rather uncomfortable levels of giving up your trust. Think about it – when you go to a restaurant, sit down and order any item of food or even a beverage off the menu, you don’t know what goes on in the back.
You essentially have to put your trust in the waiter serving you, but that’s just a matter of the here-and-now. By default, you also essentially have to put your trust in the organisation as a whole – you have to have faith in the possibility that the restaurant is handling the food hygienically and isn’t trying to flog spoiled food. We’ve heard of huge scandals in recent times with regards to the likes of water buffalo and horse meat being passed off as beef, and just for a fleeting moment, it seemed like more people all around the world were thinking about these levels of trust we have to put in each other, often by no choice of our own.
Sticking with the restaurant industry example, the trust does indeed spread beyond the restaurant itself, going all the way up the chain to the primary suppliers such as farmers. I mean how do you know really that the organic meat you’re supposedly eating in your burger is indeed organic and is ethically produced? You don’t – you just have to trust that it is, although there are means and ways to actually make enquiries, but that would require a concerted effort involving you and other consumers.
Fortunately though we’re not left completely to our own devises as there are regulatory bodies put in place to monitor, regulate and govern all these industries which largely require us to trust complete strangers. The bottom line though is that we do indeed have to trust total strangers more than we may know.