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In Uber driver, Democrats' Lenihan sees the story of his party

Of all the people former Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan met at the convention this week, it was his Uber driver who impressed him most.

Lenihan was at a reception event at the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park Saturday night and had difficulty getting a cab ride home. So a Secret Service agent took pity on him and downloaded the Uber app onto his phone. When the Uber driver showed up, he and Lenihan hit it off right away.

“This amazing young man picked me up,” Lenihan said.

The driver, Jonathan, was a 30-year-old Hispanic man who had lived in Philadelphia for roughly two decades and had stories to tell. He agreed to pick up Lenihan at his hotel the next morning, then later picked him up from the convention and recommended a great Chinese restaurant outside the convention zone for lunch.

“He used to work there,” Lenihan said.

So the two men spent their Sunday lunch together, and Lenihan learned more about this driver, who had two children and was working 70 to 80 hours a week just to make ends meet.

Lenihan said people like him are the reason the Democratic Party exists.

“His story was the story of the Democratic Party,” Lenihan said, “trying to help to people trying to make it in this world.”

Lenihan shared this story as he was driving back to Buffalo on Wednesday. He had to leave early because he’s one of the people organizing the 50th class reunion for Kenmore West High School. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who is contributing to convention coverage this week, will be heading to Buffalo on Saturday to meet up with Lenihan at his other classmates. Blizter will be one of 240 people from all over the country attending the reunion, Lenihan said.

While Lenihan is sorry he’s missing the last day of the convention, he’s not sorry he’s party planning his reunion this weekend.

“Here’s the way I look at it,” Lenihan said. “I had the best of both worlds.”

email: stan@buffnews.com

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