Judging books by their covers

A couple of weeks ago I had a limo collect me and take me to the airport, and a chat with the chauffeur got me to thinking about how we read people.

A few years earlier (probably in his early twenties), the driver had immigrated to the USA from Haiti only to find that his civil engineering degree and work experience wasn’t recognised – and so his first job was as a night-shift supervisor in a parking garage.  He said that on his first shift he had cried all night – and then decided to go back to University to get a recognised degree and start again.  Parking garage supervisor led to taxi dispatcher at JFK, and then to being a limo driver – and part-time study at a New York college.

I hope he makes it – but his story made me wonder: if I had seen him on his first or second night in the garage, would I have just mentally written him off as a deadbeat in a dead-end job?