Driving back from the airport with our son James in tow, our driver, Billy, was silent most of the way. I knew he had worked a 16 hour day working primarily for my boss who was nice enough to loan him to us to get James. Billy is a college graduate and speaks English so he is in demand. I especially appreciate that Billy doesn’t seem to drive like he has a death wish like most Shanghai drivers do.
As we chatted with James about China and our adventures here, Billy just listened. After talking about our daughter Hannah’s upcoming graduation ceremonies, he finally spoke up with an observation, “U.S. children are much happier than Chinese children.” was all he said. I asked why he thought that to be true. Replying softly he said, “Because you are allowed to have brothers and sisters.” He went on to explain that he was an only child due to China policy and that made for a lonely life.
Quiet settled over the car as we took in what Billy had said. Will this comment help James appreciate that he has a sibling? Maybe not now but hopefully he has now experienced another culture’s sad reality and he sees how lucky he really is to have Hannah in his life. I know change in this policy is starting to happen, hopefully soon enough for Billy to have several children to keep him company in the years to come. Everyone deserves to have the family they want, no matter what. At least, that’s my opinion.