As a parent, I always thought that the big stuff came with trepidation … those fears you get when you want something to go oh-so-right. You plan, you work, you reconfigure, you run around trying to tie up loose ends. But as I’ve grown into motherhood and adulthood, I’ve learned that any new thing can cause concern—for the very fact that it is new.

Like my latest experience.

I took my first Uber. Roundtrip and all by myself. Yes, I hear the chuckling in the background (mostly from my own children); after all, it’s just a car ride. What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that it was something different and new. It was the novelty of it. That, in itself, was the challenge.

Funny, but you get to an age where you feel like you’ve (almost) seen and done it all. You aren’t fazed by changes in plans, diversions on the road or extra guests at dinner. You move in a singular motion, trying to get it all done without dropping any balls. And most of the time, with effort and inspiration, everything works out fine.

But that’s at home or at work—your comfort zone. It’s not in a stranger’s car. Now, I tell my kids that there are no strangers in the world, just friends we haven’t met yet. Jewish tradition insists that we “welcome the stranger”; it is mentioned over and over again in the Torah. And we hope that the stranger welcomes us as well.

Still, it’s a big world out there, and things happen. So when a woman gets into a car, alone, with her purse and all her electronic devices … well, it can make anyone a little nervous.

The Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—made a point of encouraging new experiences and not letting fear overtake a person’s psyche, of not letting them stop moving forward in life. It goes right back to emunah, faith.

“When a person possesses a deep and abiding faith in G‑d, and when he reflects that G‑d’s benevolent individual Divine providence extends each and every moment to each and every person and to each and every detail, he will surely develop a profound sense of security and confidence.”1

As soon as I situated myself in the brand-new car (it was immaculate) and started chatting with Alain from Cameroon, I felt better. We talked about his recent U.S. citizenship and how he was trying to bring over his wife and young children, whom he hadn’t seen in six months. We discussed the weather, traffic, the patches of greenery we passed along the highway (my eyes opened to the fact that it’s an American novelty, grass and trees next to a major thoroughfare). The trip took 20 minutes, and I was almost sad that it ended so quickly. We had a lovely conversation and parted with top reviews on either side. (I had been schooled in that aspect of Uber, too.)

The ride back from my destination was equally pleasant. The driver was from Bangladesh, and he mentioned all the flooding that has devastated parts of Pakistan, one country over across India. He has family members there who were displaced, and described the excess water as being an ongoing problem for homeowners and businesses.

I awoke that morning with hesitancy; I ended the day with gratification. I accomplished something; I am stronger for it. I learned and listened. My 40 minutes with two “strangers” fostered communication and edification. That may not happen every Uber ride, but for a first, it was the best possible experience. I led with positivity, and it came right back at me.

That night when I got home, everyone wanted to know how I managed the situation.

I replied: “It was fine. No, it was great.” At that point, I looked right at them and chuckled: “What’s the big deal?”