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To The Gem Who Let Me Drive Her Volkswagen


Sometimes little packages of goodness enter our lives not when we need them most, but when we need them least. Mine stumbled into me on an ordinary Friday afternoon. I always find that I receive serotonin boosts when I never need them, and dopamine-inducing events and adventures when life is going fairly smoothly. Perhaps that’s the universe’s way of giving kudos to our fabulous existence so far. Cherish those people, ladies. They’re more priceless than the latest Sephora playbox you just ordered.


It was a dangerous act. If I were you, I wouldn’t have done it.

It was a bumpy ride – I’m too used to driving my own butter-like Camry. Your car was far bulkier and ‘heavier,’ so to speak.’

It was thrilling.

It was scary.

It was a risk whose return did not concern you and only benefited me.

But, I’m glad you took one for me at one in the afternoon that delightful second day of November.

If I were you, I wouldn’t have trusted myself.

I’ve only been driving since August – of this year. I’m not experienced, except with driving up and down hills and meandering turns. I’m a good driver – don’t get me wrong – with no tickets or violations, but I’m also critically inexperienced at driving as a nineteen-year-old.

I’m not the SF Bay Area driver you can completely trust as an Uber driver.

But you still offered to let me drive your car within 5 minutes of meeting you.

My dear Volkswagen-owning collegiette, what blood are you made of? Are you even of this earth?

I’m asking because your actions – of kindness and generosity – were heavenly.

It was a liability neither of us as students could ever afford.

It was also the best and kindest thing anyone has ever done for me – to date.

It convinced me that there are still a few good people out there in the world – that I have the privilege to meet.

I already know there are a few rare kind-hearted Good Samaritans out there on our planet, but I also know that I rarely have the pleasure of their company for more than a few hours in class or for a few exceptional interviews with college alumni.

You put your trust in me, enough to let me drive your Volkswagen. You told me the car’s already paid off, so “it doesn’t matter,” but, my friend, it matters.

It always matters. It will always matter.

Cars are majorly expensive possessions and taking care of them is a personal duty and responsibility. A car is first and foremost a weapon, a vehicle capable of affecting everyone’s life. That’s the number one lesson I took away from Driver’s Ed – safety is everything and my car

You put your faith in me, and your belief. We come from two polar opposite worlds and backgrounds and ethnicities and religions, and yet you connected with me as if I was your blood sister.

You trusted me.

And I will forever be grateful for that act of trust.

You are my kindred spirit. You should know that because we all deserve to feel good about ourselves in order to move forward in this hyper-competitive, multi-hyphenate world.

I will remember the way your tight bun sat securely on the top of your skull, and how your red artificial nails clicked loudly against your iPhone screen protector. I will remember how much your name reminds me of I Love Lucy reruns. I will remember the way your eyes look at me with a sense of reverence my own mother has never looked at me with.

Your kind gesture reminded me of a concept I heard from a speaker at a colloquy once. The speaker uttered a few lines of wisdom that stuck in my mind: “Loneliness isn’t so much about a lack of interaction nowadays. It’s about a lack of intimacy – a lack of feeling trusted and trustworthy enough by someone.”

You took away a portion of my loneliness that day and embodied a beacon of hope that I liken much to Jay Gatsby’s green light in The Great Gatsby – and that gift is priceless.

You should know, that I saw your Facebook post nearly five hours later about needing jumper cables up on the mountain, in the middle of the road. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you out. But I’m glad you were alright. I’m glad you made it home from the nippy mountains.

Thank you for trusting me, for believing in me, for having faith in my driving abilities. You have no clue how much your act of kindness meant to a driving-conscious girl that day. It may have been a simple eleven-minute drive for you, but for me, the smiles lasted all weekend long.

I will forever remember you. You’re a part of my memories; my neurons have successfully infused your being and your soul into their fibers. If not, karma definitely will.

I wish you the very best in all your life endeavors, both personal and professional.

Take care of the Volkswagen; it’s a mighty great car to drive and be boss in.







Melody A. Chang

UC Berkeley '19

As a senior undergraduate, I seek out all opportunities that expand my horizons, with the aim of developing professionally and deepening my vision of how I can positively impact the world around me. While most of my career aims revolve around healthcare and medicine, I enjoy producing content that is informative, engaging, and motivating.  In the past few years, I have immersed myself in the health field through working at a private surgical clinic, refining my skills as a research assistant in both wet-lab and clinical settings, shadowing surgeons in a hospital abroad, serving different communities with health-oriented nonprofits, and currently, exploring the pharmaceutical industry through an internship in clinical operations.  Career goals aside, I place my whole mind and soul in everything that I pursue whether that be interacting with patients in hospice, consistently improving in fitness PR’s, tutoring children in piano, or engaging my creativity through the arts. Given all the individuals that I have yet to learn from and all the opportunities that I have yet to encounter in this journey, I recognize that I have much room and capacity for growth. Her Campus is a platform that challenges me to consistently engage with my community and to simultaneously cultivate self-expression. 
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