Meet Samuel, a New York City Driver Who’s Rebuilding After Hurricane Maria

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Lyft driver Samuel and his partner, Jimada, were just like any other couple in their twenties: creating a home together (with plenty of cast-off furniture from Mom), launching their careers, and dividing up the chores. But then Hurricane Maria devastated their hometown, and drastically changed their lives. As they begin a new life in New York City, Samuel and Jimada find out their life is going to change again: they’re going to be parents. Hear their story in episode four of Pick Me Up, our new podcast all about what motivates Lyft drivers to get behind the wheel.

In a recent report, George Washington University estimates that nearly 3,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria. For survivors, daily life in Puerto Rico now means even the simplest tasks — like buying bottled water or gas for the car — have become difficult, day-long quests to fulfill basic needs.

After the hurricane, Sam and Jimada spent a few months trying to piece their lives back together, but without jobs, and living in a destroyed neighborhood, it seemed like the only place to carve out a future was outside Puerto Rico. They settled on New York City.

The government of Puerto Rico estimates that some two hundred thousand Puerto Ricans left in the year that followed the storm — 6% of the island’s entire population.

“I’m always positive. It’s like I’ve hit rock bottom so I cannot hit lower than that. So, I’m not scared of anything. From this point on, it’s just to make progress in my life and make things happen. I believe in myself.” - Samuel, New York City

In episode 4 of Pick Me Up, Samuel shares what it was like to live through the day of the storm, September 19, 2017, and in its devastating aftermath. We’ll follow his journey to New York City, where he and Jimada are working to get their feet back on the ground before their little one comes.

Support the American Red Cross disaster relief fund to help hurricane victims get back on their feet.

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