I always take the bus. However, today was raining like crazy, so I had no choice but to splurge on a cab ride. This is the taxi cab driver story that developed.
My alarm went off at 6 AM. I hit the snooze button…so many times that I had to jump out of bed like a possessed soul at 7:30 AM. Ten minutes ’til the bus, phew! Then I looked out my window.
Torrential rain. Damn. I guess I can’t walk to the freakin’ bus after all.
Knowing how cabbies take forever in this city, I quickly called one in, hoping it would arrive just in time to make it to work early. I took a shower, came out, and ACK! My cabbie was 3 miles away, TEN minutes ago! I ran out of the bathroom and almost fell flat on my tile floor. I looked out the window but no one was there. So I called the company…apparently, cab 475 was nowhere to be found. Operatoe dialed and dialed.
“Cab driver will be seriously reprimanded, I am so sorry m’am. I’m calling a different cab your way right now.”
Le sigh. Late to work. On first day of the month. As a manager. Didn’t look like a bright Friday.
Surprisingly, as I looked out of my window in frustration, I see cabbie 475 – YAY! I ran out in the rain and asked him to please wait, I;m here, let me get my purse!” Five mins. later, we were on our way.
And here’s where the taxi cab driver story takes a sharp turn.
As I hopped in, Charlie quickly apologized, “sorry for the wait, m’am!” I then went to tell him the ordeal, and Charlie lamented that his phone broke down and hasn’t been able to answer some calls. This has happened all week and he’s about to lose his job, even though he’s right there to pick up customers a few mins. after the assigned time.
At this point, I call the cab company and tell them about cab 475′s technical issues, to please not reprimand him, that he made it despite the rain, and was very professional and courteous.
My cab driver teared up: “I can’t believe you just did that. That call just saved my job. That’s the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a while”
Naturally, given how much of a softie I am, I teared up too. “But it’s simply the right thing to do. Who wouldn’t do that?” Charlie responded: “Two other customers I had today were in your same exact situation, but didn’t even bother to call my boss to say everything was OK. Instead, they complained the whole way about how late they were and how I needed to hurry the hell up, that they were late as it was because of the rain”
Charlie went on: “I just can’t believe you did that. I know you must also be late for work, yet you have been so nice to me. You saved my job. You are such a good person. It is so hard to find people with such a kind heart as yours nowadays.”
Yep, you guessed it: I teared up again. Just yesterday I had the most horrible day, deep within my life after travel depression, even yelled “I just
fucking hate this country!” while sobbing in my gringo boyfriend’s arms last night. And then…I find a beautiful soul that makes my day (besides my boyfriend). But this not it for this taxi cab driver story.
Here’s where this taxi cab driver story gets funny.
Charlie starts asking where I’m from and if I’m a Christian. I say Puerto Rico and that yes, I’m a Christ follower. We start going about how we’re both just trying to follow Jesus footsteps and hoping that spreading our kindness however we can may hopefully transform some lives daily. We then go off about how hospitable Caribbean people are, how we rejoice on daily life and are not so sucked up on material things, like the new American Dream trap and such. I digress saying not many Puerto Ricans are like that, but we laugh it off. Live day by day. “Live that your memories will be part of your happiness.” That sort of thing.
Then he tells me a funny Haitian tale and my top taxi cab driver story:
Back in Haiti, there was this good old man with 4 sons: Three were rich, one was very poor. One fine day the good old man dies. At his funeral, his 3 rich sons dropped $20,000 cash, EACH, inside the good old man’s coffin, so he could take riches to heaven. Can you believe that?! All that cash! Haitian beliefs and materialism, bad bad mix most times. Anyway! All that cash is in, then the 4th son of the good old man, the very poor one, goes by the coffin, writes a $100,000 check and tells his good old man: “Father, God doesn’t accept that much cash in heaven. I’ll take the $60,000 — here’s a $100,000 check, with $40,000 just from me, because I love you so.” Then the poor son walked away rich, with $60,000 … whilst his bank account had NO FUNDS!
But hey, there’s no cash and no banks in heaven either, are there?
Lol! I died! We both laughed so hard! Charlie continued:
“You see, many times, many rich people not so smart, but many poor people very smart too. Depends where you go. But I see it here in the USA too: People with so much money, buy so many cars and big houses, put away so much money, work so so so many hours, barely live until just a few years before they die. Then they die and where does all that money go!? WASTED! Most true rich people, rich people in the heart, live instead of exist. Live much happier life. Enjoy much more life. Not saying being rich is bad, but it is like Jesus said: ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Only the humble in the heart will enter heaven. To me, only the humble in the heart, too, have true heaven on Earth.”
I nodded and teared up a bit again as we rolled into my company’s building. I said farewell, took his card, and went into my office. I know who I’m calling on another rainy day.