Riding down TX-114 E. With Ron.

The alarm rings. For this self-rising yeast, it’s a rare morning when I need an alarm.

I roll over to glance at the clock: 3:10 am. I would have slept through it. Body resists all movement. I gotta get up.

3:58 am. I-95 S. Truckers, drunks (hope not), others heading to LGA and JFK, and me.

4:45 am. Security check-in line snakes down the corridor and around the corner. At least 100 deep. WTH? Does anyone know what time it is? I look down the hall and the TSA line is empty. The good joo joo train is rolling. I wait for TSA man to wave me through the x-ray frame. No pat down required. (No hands riding too close to the crotchal area.) No random bag check. The sun keeps shining.

5:33 am. Boarding.

6:00 am. Jet doors hiss and close. I’m seated in an aisle seat (preferred). There’s no one next to me. It’s an Exit row. How do you spell Nirvana?

6:45 am. 32,000 feet. Kitty corner right, one row up. Mother. Late 20’s. Holding infant, maybe 2 months old. A beautiful baby boy. His head is nestled in his Momma’s nape. He lifts his head, wobbly, and he stares at me with his big brown eyes. Miracle. All of it. My hands tire after holding my e-reader for 20 minutes.  She holds him for the entire 3 hour and 20 minute flight, with the exception of 2 bathroom breaks. Rocking him. Cradling him. Feeding him. Mothers, Wow. 

8:55 am CST. On time landing. My checked bag is at baggage claim spinning on the carousel. Should I buy a Lotto ticket, Now?

8:56 am. Smartphone buzzes. Text message. “Sir, it is Ron Smith, your driver. I’m waiting at Gate C21.” How did we survive before text messaging?

9:00 am. “Good morning Sir. Let me grab your bag.” Ron is in his late 60’s. Chauffeur hat. “Let me get the door for you Sir.” Hat. Door. Sir. Uneasiness drifts in.

9:01 am. “Sir, it’s a short ride to your office, there’s light traffic. And it’s a beautiful day.” The mind camps out on Sir, and my eyes rest on the back of his chauffeur’s hat. I sit quietly. His eyes catch mine in the rear view mirror.  Driving Ms. Daisy. Or, Sir Daisy.

9:06 am. “Sir, where are you from?” I respond, mind locked on Sir.  “Ah, very good. My wife and I visit New York City every year on our anniversary. We were there last month.”

“Did you have a nice time?”

“Sir, we don’t get out much but we so look forward to our visit. It’s our one vacation each year.”

“What did you do on this trip?

“Sir, it was so wonderful. We took a rickshaw from the hotel to Del Frisco’s.  We had big juicy steaks and a fine baked potato, that potato steaming and melting two dollops of butter. And then, we walked to Broadway to see Chorus Line. It was a wonderful evening.”

“I get up early in the morning and I grab a cup of coffee. I walked over to the NBC Morning Show and wouldn’t you know it, my niece saw me on TV.  I received a text from her. ‘Grandpa, was that you on TV this morning?’  It was amazing.”

“I took my wife down to ChinaTown. She didn’t last but 15 minutes and wanted to go.  Sir, to me, it was like walking on another planet. I could have wandered around the shops for days. And the people, so friendly!”

“But my favorite morning pastime was to.walk down 47th street in the jewlery district. Sir, the diamonds, so beautiful.”

“Did you say 47th street?”

“Yes. 47th. Sir, why do you ask?”

“I walk down 47th to get to my office.”

“It’s such a small world isn’t it?”

The car pulls up to the office.

“Sir, do you get to the Dallas much?”

“Lately yes.”

“Sir, if you don’t mind, would you consider calling me if you ever need a ride.”

“Of course, no problem.”

He unlocks the trunk. Reaches for my bag.

“Ron, please, let me get that.”

“No Sir. That wouldn’t be right.”

“Would you mind waiting for one minute while I grab my business card?”

He turns to me offering his card in two hands. I look at the gold embossed card. Ron Smith, Professional Chauffeur.

“Sir, I appreciate your business.”

Ron, please call me Dave. He nods.

“Ron, see you Friday morning?”

“Yes Sir….uhhh, Dave.”

He smiles, I reach for his hand. Strong grip. Tough skin. Working man’s hands.

He turns away and I watch. His black cordovan shoes, polished to a high gleam clop clop on the concrete. He moves with a slow gait, a slight limp, arthritic bones. He eases into the car.

Oh, to be half the Man he is.

Who’s calling Who Sir?


Notes:

Comments

  1. A Beautiful encounter Sir Dave. Life is full of them when we take to see 👏

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Another lesson learned in encounters of the heart. Beautiful, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. you were in the presence of royalty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done, Sir!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love everything about this, pal. And next time I’m in Dallas, think *I’ll* call Ron, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful. I love encounters that remind me that people have stories–random events, struggles, and life experiences that enrich others simply by being in their presence, totally unbeknownst to them. Thank you for that reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s good to be reminded of all of the good people out there, doing their jobs with pride, enjoying the everyday pleasures of life, appreciating what they see–Ron, certainly, but also the mother with her sweet baby and even the TSA man waving you through. And the 47th Street connection! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How nice of you dear Dave, your seeing heart is what you shared with us. I am impressed too. Thank you, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How lovely that the above readers appreciate all of these life moments you share with us all! You make our hearts connect a little extra. And, getting up in the middle of the night and drivng to JFK can be more of a quietly joyful day than simply torturous….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Everyone has a story. I’ll bet Ron has quite a few to tell. Lucky you, Sir Daisy !

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When I was 6 we moved from Fort Worth to Detroit. Sometime during the 2nd grdae year the teacher called me out in front of the class.
    “I get reports from parents about Steve Renfro” she said. “He always says “Thank you” and “youre welcome”. and he always says “Yes sir and nor sir”. Don’t you Steve?”
    “Yes Ma’am”
    “So i am sending Steve to the store across the street to buy supplies for making cookies in class today. Steve, would you pick someone to go with you?”
    All my buddies had their hands raised, squirming in their seats.
    I looked around the room, and then I saw her, sitting at her desk.
    “I pick Lori Sandburg”
    Lori was the 2nd grade version of Marilyn Monroe in 1964.
    I must have said “Thank you” 100 times to the guy behind the counter at the store.

    The thing is, 5 years later when we moved back to Texas, my 6th grade teacher had to call me out
    “Dont you ever say Yes Ma’am?” she asked.
    I said “Nope”
    I’m glad to say somewhere along the line I got it back, and say “Yes Ma’am” and “No sir” to anyone, even those younger than I.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I needed to read this today! My world’s not falling apart nor on the verge…just the emotional fatigue like a hangover from seeing my son board a plane internationally from the perpsective of a mama heart…not actually seeing him depart… just the thought of it all…I just needed this so…absolutely connectedness and beauty of the encoutner of another.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a beautiful encounter. A gift, for you both. I have a lump in my throat. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Luv this! Your heart is thisssssssss ———- bigggggggg! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. How truly lovely was that story! Love the connection….SIR! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Something that stuck with me from one of your older posts, the beautiful train/metro stations of Moscow. And the, was it 10?, year-old boy selling jeans and chewing gum at the station. That Boy!

    As for 47th street, it seems to me like we all have to walk it once, at least once in our lives. When I’m in New York I stay at W on Lexington. Because the jeweler I worked with is partners in the managing company. And everytime you post Walking Cross Town and mention 47th street, I want to say something and I don’t. Especially Jeweler’s District.

    Beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your memory is amazing. Amazing. I forgot all about this post.
      https://davidkanigan.com/2015/11/07/riding-the-7-train-and-the-moscow-metro/#more-32370

      And thanks for sharing your thoughts on 47th. For whatever reason, that feel when you walk down that street, doesn’t leave your consciousness.

      Thank you Sawsan.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This Ron will be stored in the same place in my memory.

        NOTHING about New York leaves the consciousness…

        This post reminds me of a very unlikely encounter with a very old man in the French Market in New Orleans. The olive skin and olive hazel eyes that I’ll never forget. Or his tears when I spoke to him in our language, our village dialect.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Beautiful description. Those moments.

          Great moments, instants of elation, of short-lived certainty, light, faith: they seem— since such things are fleeting by definition— to dissipate somewhere on the fringes of memory, after a certain point we cease to take them as seriously as they deserve (and as we do when they suddenly appear before us). Moreover, the ubiquitous mist of irony, the modern world’s innate skepticism, mean that we scrutinize these moments critically after they’ve gone, as if we didn’t trust ourselves, we want to discard them, cast them aside, we refuse to let them complicate our lives, which are tangled enough as it is. But these moments form the base, the foundation of everything.

          ~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 4, 2017)

          Liked by 2 people

  18. I always feel like I’m witnessing the stories you tell! ♡
    Diana xo

    Like

  19. beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The post reminds me of something else. A guy I used to work with. Jason. He would carve the steamship round of beef at the Sunday morning brunch at the Hyatt.
    As people came through the line, he would ask where they were from.
    “Seattle” they might say, and Jason would reply “I was there last week! Went to Pikes Street Market and brought home some Balsamic Vinegar” and the customer would be just delighted.
    The next might be from Denver, and Jason would have been there last year, first game at Mile high Stadium.
    Wherever they were from, he had been there, and threw some little tidbit about the city out there. They loved it.

    Not that your Ron would ever do that.
    The last time I saw Jason was at a different hotel, and I’d forgotten about it until just now, but Jason was operating under a different name. I don’t remember the particulars of why.
    But that’s the hotel business for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You always notice the shoes. It’s a real tell–for you & for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Well written and moving. As someone who travels a lot, I try to remind myself that, even when there are delays and other inconveniences, it is still a miracle that I can sit in a metal tube, hurtle through space and arrive at a precise destination half way around the world.

    As for the story about Ron, very touching. We encounter hard-working people like that every day, but often we don’t see it. When I am in an airport, if I have to use the washroom and one of the cleaners is in there working, I always make a point of thanking them for keeping the washroom clean. It’s a small thing, but you can see from the smiles on their faces that it means a lot to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you John. The sight of bathroom cleaners in airports leave me with the same lightning strike of empathy. I can’t walk by without a hello. And I agree this acknowledgement that they too are human lights up both of us. John, thanks for sharing. You started my day in the right place.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Assuredness draws others in. It’s a true belief in who we are and what we do. Great lesson from Ron 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What a wonderful story! Thanks for the smile

    Liked by 1 person

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