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Posts about gratitude (old posts, page 6)

Dear Uber

Since my emails to you result in this

We’re unable to respond to conversations that have been closed. Please note that your message has not been received by our support team.

And I really need to say something to your reply closing my original issue, this is my post!

Here’s my orginal text to you from within the app

Amount Of Cash Paid To Driver : 500
Share Additional Details : THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT. My driver was very helpful and brought me home in rain and traffic conditions with lots of patience. He was however running low on gas and was getting slightly apprehensive. I on my own accord offered my directions to a gas station, once he dropped me off and willingly gave him Rs. 500 since he was low on cash. (I have also paid for the trip via my credit card) So if you can adjust that for me, please do. Else, I’ll just consider it my good deed for the day. Regards, Mario Jason Braganza
Sent by Jason B. on Friday, July 20, 2018 at 3:42:12 AM

And this was your reply, which somehow ticks me off when you deign to tell me


Thanks for writing in Jason,

I reviewed your account and can see that your chosen payment method was your VISA XXXX. As a one-time exception, I've added INR 500 Uber credits to your account. You can see them under the payments section of your app. Please note that there is no need for you to pay in cash to the driver partner on a non-cash trip. The same is expected when you request rides for your family, friends etc. The trip fare is inclusive of tolls/parking fee and any other charges if applicable.

To avoid similar issues in the future, always make sure that you don’t pay with cash if you’ve already selected another form of payment.

We appreciate your understanding.

Well, you see that’s what ticks me off.
You decide something is one thing despite me expressly telling you it’s the other. And then you presume to lecture me on what I should so.
So you see, I do need to reply.
And since I cannot reply to that mail, I’ll post it here on my blog for posterity.

> To avoid similar issues in the future
Helping people and being human is not something I wish to avoid.

The driver was helpful and young and apprehensive.
He went out of his way to reach me home safe. I helped him back without his asking me to.
If your drivers can do so much, is your back-office so loathe to employ humans and look at exceptions and deal with them?

If you can help me, well and good.
If not, don’t.

> As a one-time exception
While I am thankful for the refund, I don’t need your charity or condescension.
I managed to travel before Uber was around and I’m quite sure I’ll be able to, even now.

Mario Jason Braganza

Like Seth Godin points out in a post he’s just published, a day before

The thing is, “garbage in, garbage out” is lazy.

It’s lazy because it puts all the onus on the user or the environment. It lets the device off the hook, and puts the focus on the system, which, the device creator points out, is out of his control.

It’s one thing to make a sports car that runs beautifully on smooth roads, perfect tires and premium gas, but it’s a triumph of engineering to make one that runs beautifully all the time.

It’s one thing to organize the DMV so it works well when every person reads all the instructions, fills out the forms perfectly and patiently waits their turn, but it’s a generous act of customer service and organization when the system is resilient enough to work with actual human beings.

The extraordinary teacher adds value to every student, no matter what their home is like. She sees possibility and refuses to settle or blame the inputs. Isn’t that the way we’d like every professional to see the world?

The better mantra is, “garbage in, gorgeous out.”

That’s what we hired you for.

(updated later same day to include a reference to Seth’s post)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy!


A day late, but Happy Mother’s day Mummy!
Aunty L made me forget yesterday :)
Better late than never though!

I could not have asked God for a better mummy than you!
We love you for all you are and all you do!

Writing Day 16 – Thank you James Tanton!

I recently subscribed to the The Great Courses Plus, so that I could bring myself up to speed on the Math needed to do my 12th standard exams.

All these years, whenever I’ve tried to teach myself trigonometry (or other people have tried to explain it to me) it has always been an exercise in frustration, followed by the general exhortation to just mug it up.

My brain sadly is not wired that way. I can and I will mug it up.
But I do want to know what the first principles are, so that I have the ability to derive what I need.
I need to understand.

Professor Tanton’s Geometry course was this eye opener for me.
I thought him slightly pretentious in the beginning, when he repeatedly says, he doesn’t know what the answer is … and then goes on to figure it out.
A few lectures in, though, and I’m suddenly a rabid fan of the approach.
Prof Tanton puts himself in my place and with glee, figures things out, just like a new learner would.
I find myself pausing the video, when he says he does not know and then try to figure it out just like he would (or rather he would, that I would … by slowly reasoning and being ok with mistakes)

His love for the subject shines through all he does.
There are ropes and knots and hand motions and sound effects (shoom!) and boards and screens and ugly drawings (just like mine) and folded pieces of paper and tiles and he bounces between all of them to explain stuff and make his point.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

This is one of my later classes, and I’m barely halfway through.
In fact, I’m at the point in lecture 18, where he tries to explain how to sum up two sines.

So why the gratitude rush?
Because Prof Tanton just lit the biggest light bulb in my head, and gave me my biggest a-ha, I’ve ever had in a long time.
Lectures 16 & 17 explaing circle-ometry, naturally leading into the basics of trigonometry, suddenly made sense of so much stuff for me.
All the advanced algebra I’ve been doing, the basic calculus I’ve been learning suddenly just “clicked!”

And there’s another reason.
He showed me that genius is not the norm for doing maths and science.
Persistence, slow methodical work, gentle reasoning and practice will get me there.
If James Tanton PhD. Mathematics, Princeton University, 1994, & Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C. does it this way, so can I.
He’s made me fall in love with maths.

And for that, dear Professor Tanton, I’m eternally grateful.

Not to toot my own horn, but Prof Tanton responded :P


So God Made a Dog …


God said, ‘I need somebody strong enough to pull sleds and find bombs, yet gentle enough to love babies and lead the blind.
Somebody who will spend a day on a couch with a resting head and supportive eyes to lift the spirts of a broken heart.’

So, God made a dog.1

  1. I don’t know the actual source, but I saw it here, years ago 

Portraits – Pooja – 2


“One day the sun admitted
I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The infinite incandescence
That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!”

— Hafiz