Ten Miles to Nowhere
I can’t believe it; it makes my heart break. I must do something, but what. I watched as he got in a car to drive away. I jumped in the taxi parked behind him and yelled at the driver “Follow that car!” – the driver said, “Hey lady, didn’t you see the off-duty sign?” “Just drive I will give you $100 above the fee, just hurry, please don’t lose him.” “Okay Okay you got a deal” the cabbie said as he threw the car into drive “Which car are we following?” he asked. “That little tan one with the college sticker in the window.” “Okay, college boy, you are about to get tested on being followed.”
“What did this guy do, that makes you want to catch him so bad; did he steal your purse? Break your daughter’s heart? What?” “I don’t know, I mean he didn’t do anything to me, as a matter of fact, he hasn’t done anything yet.” I spoke with a hush. It was true, he hadn’t. I started explaining, “He was standing next to me on the sidewalk, talking on his phone, I don’t know to who, or what they were saying, the only details I have are the conversation upset him enough to cry, then some man rushed by him, almost knocking him over and yelled at him to get out of the way *** ****, his shoulders slumped down and he said “What’s the point, no reason to hang around any longer.” Then he wiped his eyes, turned to a homeless man gave him his coat and money, saying “Here fella, you need this more than I will” then he got in his car.
I looked at the driver who had a confused look on his face and he commented “So we are on a wild goose chase then?” I cleared my throat and replied “I have no idea where we were going or what the outcome will be, all I know is my internal voice is screaming help him, maybe its instinct, maybe it’s Jesus, but I know I have to follow through” all I could do was stare helplessly straight ahead watching that young boy’s car, so we didn’t lose him.
The cabby started with multiple explanations for what his actions meant, “Maybe he is tired of city life and is going back home where it is to warm for a coat. Or … or maybe he flunked his exam and is going to ummm, no I bet it was a girl, she dumped him.” I looked in the mirror and could tell the driver was as upset as I was. Then he stopped trying to rationalize and figure it out and said “What ever it is, we have to keep an eye on him” “I agree, thank you so much for understanding” I smiled. “No, thank you for noticing the young man had a problem, I see a lot of sad, lonely, desperate people on this job, more of them, than of people like you. You know that’s the problem with this world, not enough caring, you say a guy almost knocked him over but blamed him?” “yes” “You know, people need to be kind, we never know what others are going through. This is a good example of how being mean or rude might be the last straw for that kid.” “You have that 100% correct.” He spoke again “I am glad you noticed what was going on.” I smiled “I can’t believe it myself, normally I am to distracted by my own errands to pay attention to others, I am more like the people you spoke about, not caring enough about other people.” I sadly admitted “Well!” he said boldly and excited “I do not believe in coincidences, you were in the right place, at the right time, with the right focus, Praise Jesus” “And don’t forget, you were sitting there off duty.”
We continued following him in silence, I was reflecting on my past, ‘how many times did I miss something important? How many times was I rude to strangers, especially ones who were having a rough time in life? Was I ever responsible for being someone’s last straw? This whole event reminded me of a show I had seen when I was younger, about how people’s actions cause a domino effect on all those they encounter, so if you smile, then most people smile back and then smile at the people they pass, and it continues, in a sense, your one smile can multiply into hundreds of smiles. This effect is also true with negative actions, you frown or are rude, then that person is not as nice to the next and so on. We were now almost at the edge of the city. There ahead of us on the bridge a single car, it slowed and then stopped. “NO!” cried the driver and pushed on the gas peddle “Stay in the car kid, stay in the car.” But he didn’t, he was out and walking towards the edge of the bridge. We got there screeching to a halt. Both the driver and I jumped out, “WAIT! Stop talk to us” I cried, shocked he spun around, tears teeming down his cheeks, a totally hopeless look on his face. He said nothing, just turned and stepped closer to the edge. The driver reached him first, spun him around and hugged him tight. It was quite the sight, a large burly rough around the edges seasoned taxi driver, holding a slim young man. I stood close and wrapped my arms around them both as far as I could. We stood there like this for at least fifteen minutes, until the driver relaxed his grip, sensing the boy had let out enough of his anguish, to be able to talk to us. “Well young man” said the driver “Everything is going to be okay. My name is Bob, what’s yours.” We slowly ushered him to the warm cab and let him tell us his story, and thankful we helped.