AFTER dinner at a downtown hotel,
my aunt and her friends, all retired, phoned for a cab. A car pulled up to the front
entrance where they waited, and they got in, asked to be taken to the concert hall and
chatted together until they arrived. When asked the fare, the driver laughed. "I was
on my way to meet someone at the hotel when you all happily climbed into my car. This
isn't a taxi. Enjoy the symphony, ladies." And with a wave of his hand he drove off.
ONE warm summer night in Toronto I was looking for a cab.
Finally, one pulled up to the curb.
"Are you free?" I asked the driver.
"Always free for a lovely lady, " he answered with a smile. Then as
he drove along, he suddenly asked me, "You like music, lady?"
"Some," I replied.
"I like to sing," he said. Then, "Do you like Mario
I told him I did and he promptly burst into Lanza's popular hit, "The
Loveliest Night of the Year." He had one of the most beautiful voices I had
ever heard, and as we progressed up University Avenue, people on the sidewalks turned to
listen as his voice soared through the, open windows.
He timed our arrival at the hotel just as he finished the song. I felt like
DURING a business trip to New York, the conversation with a
voluble and philosophical taxi driver finally got around to human nature, and the empathy
of New Yorkers in general. "People here," he complained, "wouldn't
help their own mothers, unless there was something in it for them; and if it means
touching them for a handout, forget it! Nobody but nobody will give you a dime in
Since I disagreed, and remarked that Americans were considered generous
people, he offered to prove his point.
"See that cab driver?" he asked, pointing to the taxi that had stopped
next to us. "He's my buddy, he'll do most anything for me. But watch this."
He leaned out of his window and yelled, "Hey, Henry! I need to borrow a
buck from you. Real urgent, man."
To my dismay, and his obvious delight, Henry sourly replied, "No way, brother,
I ain't got no buck to spare."
My driver's wide grin of satisfaction turned to a sheepish grimace when the
passenger in Henry's cab rolled down her window and, extending her gloved hand containing
a fluttering dollar bill, said, "I'll give you a dollar if you need it, cabbie!"
ONE dark night while driving a taxi, I picked up an obvious
drunk and drove him to his destination, a parking lot. After he paid and got out, I was
vaguely aware of him rustling around behind the cab, and I heard him say, "Not a fit
night out for man nor beast. Better call you a cab." Then the rear door opened and
closed. Without turning my head, I tripped the meter and drove off. After a bit I asked my
fare where he was going. Not receiving an answer, I assumed he was just another
non-communicative drunk and drove a bit farther before demanding to know his destination.
This time I turned to discover a very large and ferocious looking German shepherd. I
sheepishly drove the "fare" back to the parking lot quietly, with the meter
turned off and let him out.