Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by John Dukes.
Bry Shields gave the invocation, followed by Larry Sindel, who led us in song and the Pledge.
Introduction of Guests & Visitors: Jeff Zoghby introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Announcements: John requested that members submit new photos and information for the roster to Peg. The District Annual Conference will be held on 6/7-6/10 at the Beau Rivage. There will be a club social at the Cheese Cottage on Tuesday, June 19th.
Program: Tom McGehee introduced our speaker, Tommy Fulton, Development Director for the Little Sisters of the Poor and Uber Driver, who spoke on “Visions of Life from the Wheel of an Uber Driver.
Tommy Fulton has been driving for Uber since January of 2017 in a part-time status. As a member of the Downtown Mobile Rotary, he has regaled his tablemates with stories of the various adventures he’s experienced as a driver. Eventually, they encouraged him to present those stories to the membership.
Tommy has given more than 2,500 rides, which amounts to an estimated 5,000 riders. He stated that one of his challenges was choosing which stories to tell. He has given rides to people of all economic ranges, as well as people from 46 countries throughout the world. These encounters become even more interesting because there seems to be a difference in the willingness to open up to an Uber driver, unlike past experiences with taxi drivers.
He told stories of families traveling through town, people going through marital challenges, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, family business challenges and those who are in Mobile to board the cruise ship. One of the stories was about a woman who had been abused as a child, and had grown up to become a martial artist with a goal to train others to defend themselves.
Tommy’s stories included riders dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Tonya Harding, an adult entertainer on her way to work, the comedian Jay Pharoah, a Chinese couple visiting the USS Alabama, and a lady describing events of intrigue as she rode to Pensacola to reunite with her boyfriend after he had been released from jail for the sixth time. The opportunity to meet visitors from all around the world has been one of his biggest surprises.
Finally, he praised the people of Mobile as he stated, “One of the most common threads of commentary from the riders, especially from out-of-town visitors, is how friendly our people are in Mobile!”
Because his speech was so amazing and completely filled the allotted time, there was no question and answer session. John Dukes thanked Mr. Fulton for his presentation and presented a certificate to him, noting that a donation in his honor had been made to the Rotary International Foundation. This was a huuuuge honor as Mr. Fulton is the only speaker to receive this recognition from the Rotary Club of Mobile in recent history…(about a week)! P.S. – Never let the speaker also serve as the contributing editor…just saying!
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.