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New beginnings

10.11.2016

Miriam is a fighter; a fighter in both the proper and figurative sense of the word. Miriam is an eight-time world Muay Thai champion. Nicknamed “The Queen of Mean” by her peers, Miriam made a job of her passion.

New beginnings : Miriam with Uber

But in a country where you go big or you go home, Miriam went big, Miriam went home and Miriam ended up homeless. Injured at the top of her career with a severe knee injury, Miriam had to quit training and fighting to let her body heal. Everything went on a downward spiral, insurance bills piled up, and eventually, Miriam had to sleep in her car with her beloved companion cat, Princess, and call it temporarily home. Hurt both physically and emotionally, Miriam decided to get her life back and make a complete 180-degree move : change trainers, change her social circle and get her life back on track.

New beginnings : Miriam with Uber New beginnings : Miriam with UberNew beginnings : Miriam with Uber

Miriam has been an uberX driver-partner for a little more than a month now. She got help getting on the road by taking advantage of the vehicle solutions program, developed by Uber for partners who, like Miriam, don’t have access to a qualifying uberX vehicle.

New beginnings : Miriam with Uber

Uber has allowed Miriam to earn revenue while enjoying flexible hours to train and get back in shape. It has also helped her meet new people, socialize and feel part of society. She says that she enjoys being an Uber partner not only because of the flexibility it offers her, but also because it makes her feel like she’s helping people : by listening to their personal stories, riding while listening to their favorite tunes, and making sure they get to their destination sound, safe and on time.

Miriam is a fighter. Her incredible journey into recovery touched me to the core, and reminded me that ‘you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have.’ [Bob Marley]

New beginnings : Miriam with Uber

Whether, like Miriam, you are looking for a career change, or a side hustle for an extra source of income, Uber offers the flexibility of being your own boss, set your own schedule and work as much or little as desired. Being a driver-partner is made easy through a simple-to-use process. Once you become an Uber partner, it’s a simple 3-step process to making money:

  • Turn on the app – at whatever times are convenient for you.
  • Accept a ride – you get to decide who you want to pick-up.
  • Complete the ride and get paid!

Miriam had so many stories of rides to share with me : from happy moments when she rode a group of friends heading to a Rihanna vs Beyoncé concert and were arguing over which one of these divas was winning the most votes – and Miriam put on some tunes so the group could all sing along during the ride – to sadder ones when she drove a senior lady who told her about her past struggles in her native Tibet before moving to the US. This sense of empathy, of feeling the pain and joy around her is strongly anchored in Miriam; almost as if her second chance in life allowed her to connect deeper into life’s joys and pains of others around her, one Uber ride at a time.

New beginnings : Miriam with Uber New beginnings : Miriam with Uber

I met Miriam Nakamoto for a couple of hours, but she has managed to imprint in me the feeling of humbleness, of empathy and a life-long memory of what a modern hero truly looks like.

To read more unique drivers’ stories, head over to the Uber site.

 

• This post is in collaboration with Uber. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep FrenchByDesign going!

Photography : French By Design ©

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13 comments

  • Kiana Underwood

    I love this Si. How inspiring, what a beautiful project.

    • French By Design

      Thank you @Kiana. Miriam is such an inspiring person, loved working on this project with her. Xx-

  • Yvette

    What a great story of courage and resilience, love the shots of Miriam: she looks so proud posing with her trophies, and that contagious smile! Great story, so very inspiring.

  • Sandra Fazzino

    Thank you, Si and Miriam, for sharing this intimate and courageous story. XO

  • susanne

    Hallo,
    J`aime tant votre blog, mais cette fois-ci, pour la première fois je suis désolée: est-ce que vous etes consciente du caractère de l`entreprise UBER? En Europe il y a beaucoup de résistance et interdictions, car UBER voudrait détruire avec sa puissance monétaire toutes les structures locales des entreprises de taxi. On a déjà trop de firmes américaines comme amazon, google etc. qui dictent le jeu.

    • French By Design

      Je suis désolée que vous n’approuviez pas ma collaboration avec Uber. J’utilise cette plateforme très souvent ici, à San Francisco, et j’en suis très satisfaite. La structure d’Uber aux Etats Unis est différente de celle en France, et je suis consciente qu’Uber a connu une grande resistance sur le marché français par exemple à cause des lobbies de taxis. Certaines règles ont changé depuis l’année dernière, mais la resistance est toujours là. Je trouve malheureux qu’un chauffeur de taxi doive payer une énorme taxe et pas un chauffeur Uber, mais il s’agit là d’un problème de taxe. Le monde change, des nouveaux systèmes et emplois apparaissent et les entreprises de taxis doivent s’adapter [ainsi que le système de taxe]. Uber génère beaucoup de petits emplois aussi – Miriam par exemple n’aurait jamais pu se permettre de rebondir sur ces pieds et de devenir chauffeur de taxi à cause du montant des licences qui font barrière à l’entrée.
      Bref, quand on reste dans un monopole et qu’on refuse les nouveaux arrivants du marché, on stagne : tout le monde criait au feu au moment où France Telecom a perdu son monopole en France, et Free est arrivé, et l’accès à Internet s’est popularisé.
      Merci de votre message @Susanne.

  • Godlove

    You’re a champion.

    Good job girl.

  • elise m

    Inspired and spurred into action. I see myself in Miriam’s story. Becoming an Uber driver/partner is what I need to get my life back on track.

  • elise m

    Oh, and she didn’t give up her cat …or her dreams. #Hero

  • Adrian field

    Inspiring article to start the day l wish you the best