The Taxi Ride

On a warm summer night I needed a ride from my place to a friends house. It took me almost 45 minutes to flag down a taxi, but, this began a night I would never forget. When I got in the taxi, the driver was a tall, skinny, man with shaggy brown hair. The taxi smelt of stale cigarettes and body odor.  I told him the address to my friends house and we left the curb side with a hard jolt and squealing tires. But other than the abrupt start the ride seemed normal, until he drove past my friends house. “Excuse me sir, that’s my stop.” I said. but he didn’t say anything. he didn’t try to slow down, turn around, in fact he just kept driving. I began to panic, “Sir, that is where I need to go!” again he had no reaction. I tried to open the door and jump out of the taxi but it was locked and there was no way to unlock it. In my fit of fear and rage I didn’t notice where we were going. then all of a sudden we stopped. we were on the side of town I had never been on before. I got out of the taxi without paying and began walking back to my friends house. The taxi driver drove away with out a word. As I began to walk down the dimly lit streets I realized I didn’t know where I was. I tried to ask some of the night walkers for directions but none of them would help, or even acknowledge me. So I began my lonely, quiet, misguided journey back to my friends house. Eventually after a few wrong turns I was completely lost, but I came across a short, skinny, bald man. He looked at me and said hello. he was the first person to say anything, to look at me, just to notice me. So I said hello back and began to ask him directions to get back home, but I decided to ask him his story instead. What his name was, where he from, what he is doing sitting on the street late at night all alone? Eventually after some hemming and hawing, I made a new friend. his name was Jeremy Black, originally from South Dakota, came to New York for a woman who took his money and left him homeless. He used to be a engineer for some big company down south, who took early retirement to move in with his “soul mate.” After a full night of getting to know him I emptied out my bag gave him all my cash, asked him how to get home and we went our separate ways. But Jeremy Black is a man I will never forget. He taught me that everyone has a different story, a different life style, and different joys they get from the world. Because the last thing he said to me was, “Just because my life has been full of shit, doesn’t mean I have a shitty life.” And that I will never forget.

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