Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

The Monday before Christmas I got a call to Windsor Street around 10:00 PM. The dispatcher told me that I would be driving a lady named Mary, to an address off Silverton and Lancaster. When I arrived there were 2 black males in the street, in front of the address, so I stopped. The elder of the 2 walked up to my window, so I rolled it down and he urgently told me, “don’t driver her anywhere, she doesn’t have any money.”

Then the younger man chimed in, “yeah, don’t drive her, she doesn’t have any money.”

Before I could think of a response to give the passenger door opened and a middle aged black woman got in my passenger seat, next to me. She closed the door, and gave me the address she wanted to go to, looking like she was ready to burst in tears. She looked like an average middle aged woman, who was somewhat overweight.

“Do you have any money?” I asked

“Yes,” she told me, “I have a credit card.”

“A credit car?” I thought, and concluded that this would be a charity trip. I didn’t know what was going on, but I wasn’t going to tell her that I couldn’t drive her without money up front, which would be the normal thing to do in a case like this. The 2 guys in the street, looked like they were probably her husband and son, but who knows what domestic dispute was taking place, and I didn’t really want to know anyway.

“Driver number 25 picked up,” I told John, the dispatcher. and then began driving to our destination. On the way there my passenger was sobbing, so I said nothing.

When we arrived at an apartment complex the fare came to $9.10, and Mary gave me her credit card, along with her picture ID. After I ran it on my slider, and called it in, the dispatcher told me that it came back as an invalid account. I asked her if she could borrow any money from her friends to pay? She said that she would try, and went up to an apartment door, where she began to knock. After she unsuccessfully knocked on the door for a few minutes, she came to the front of the apartment and banged on the window, and began to hysterically cry.

“Please, please, answer the door,” she pleaded.

Then she began to cry, as she continued to sobbingly knock on the apartment window. I was sitting in my cab, about 20 feet away watching all this when I decided to quietly drive off. I wasn’t going to get paid, so why make her more miserable by making her feel guilty for burning me. Then again, maybe she was a scam artist who had burning cab drivers down to a science, with her act. Whatever the case was, I wasn’t going to waste any more time.

The next night around 9:00 PM, the dispatcher told me that someone asked for me by my number at 4452 Monroe. I didn’t know anyone at that address, but then it could be one of my regulars, who asked for me, visiting a friend. When I got there, and knocked on the door, a black woman opened the door and handed me an envelope.

“This is from Mary,” she said. “She wanted to thank you for helping her out the other night”.

I took the envelope, thanked her and got back in my cab. When I opened the envelope there was a Christmas card in it, with a $20.00 bill. It was signed Mary.

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