Just when I was all set to give up on mankind, something out of the ordinary happened.
I was on my way to work at 4:15 in the morning en route to catch a van.
As crazy as it may sound, I usually take the train since it’s packed at that hour referred to as the changing of the guard. It’s when the hotel workers switch shifts along with policeman and transit employees.
Being a morning person, I got up…showered and flew out the door only to find the train wasn’t running for another 45 minutes.
I immediately felt sweat forming beneath my Paris is for lovers T-shirt thinking…now what.
A little old black woman was standing a few feet from me. I asked her if she was okay.
“Yeah, I’m good, ” she said, a little too much rouge lifting off her cheeks. “Any day I wake up is a good day.”
“I know what you mean,” I said, smiling at her.
“Sure do love the train till it don’t work. I guess we’ll just have to take a ca-yb.” I loved how she said we.
“A cab? We can wait…it will come,” I said, not wanting to spend the money. It’s over 3 bucks just to open the door…a peccadillo of mine…how outrageously expensive taxis are.
“No, no…we need to get to our dis-tinations,” she said, flashing a huge gold tooth in the center of her smile. She worked for a rich widow in Murray Hill, she told me, who liked to put Baileys Irish Cream in her coffee.
Ma, is that you?
Now she was old…and I truly believe there are no accidents so I decide to split a cab with her, even though I would have just waited hoping my ride didn’t leave without me.
“Come own,” she said, holding up her cane to hail one down.
“44th and Lexin-ten,” she tells the driver, “and then, one mo stop.”
Now I had to be clear across town on Canal Street, but thought I’d get out with her and hop the train at Grand Central…best plan so far.
We get to her stop and she says to the Indian cab driver, “You take this young lada where she needs ta go,” handing him a bunch of bills, “and make sho she’s safe.”
“I’ll be fine ma’am, really.”
“She’s tapping the guy’s elbow ignoring me, “You promise me now.”
He shakes his head yes…she leaves.
I tell him I’m getting out too and he said, “Oh no…I take you to where you are going. She give me pa-lenty of money.”
I couldn’t believe it. This hard working woman paid for my ride. Okay, I’ll surrender to this unexpected gift and let him drive me.
So we sail there, all the windows open, thanks to the early hour, so now I’m a few minutes early. I ask him to leave me off at a Dunkin’ Donuts a block or so away.
“Would you like a coffee?” I ask before leaving.
“No, no, I am fine,” he says fixing his turban like Rita Hayworth in a convertible.
I thank him disappearing into the land of sugar and caffeine, yet when I come out, he’s still there.
“You okay?” I ask him, poking my head in the open window on the passenger side.
“Yes, but of course. I am waiting to take you to your safe place.”
“I’m fine, really,” I say, “honestly, you can go.”
As I start to walk he’s driving slowly behind me.
He followed me till I got to the van.
I went over to him.
“That was very kind of you sir…really…unnecessary but kind. Thank you.”
“You are most well-come,” he said with a big smile.
“A padomise after all, is a padomise.”