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My philosophy is there's always a good news, bad news side of everything. And last winter, when I was in New York City, the bad news was the weather forecast--torrential sleet and rain all day long, which meant it was going to be impossible to get a cab. And since I had several business appointments, I asked the hotel concierge to get me a driver for the day. And that's when I discovered the good news, my driver, Jerry.
"Hello, I'm Jerry and it's a pleasure to serve you today."
I was already stressed thinking about the complicated day ahead of me and I really wasn't in the mood for talking, but first impressions are important. So after I gave Jerry the address of my first appointment, we started to chat. At first it was just the pleasantries people exchange. I live in Sarasota, Florida, Jerry was from Mexico and he came to the States when he was 15. I was a writer, Jerry and his wife Gracie owned the limo company--and soon we were talking like old friends.
Jerry loves his work because he meets a lot of smart and creative people. He said that he always learns something from the people who ride in his car. And then he turned and looked back at me, "Ms. Suzanne, I will learn something from you today."
It was like I was queen for a day. Usually I'm standing in the street flagging down a cab, feeling tense, hoping I'll make it to my next appointment in time. But spending the day with Jerry, it certainly didn't feel like I was working.
"Just sit right there, Suzanne. Let me help you out of the car."
Umbrella in one hand and his other hand extended to help me over the huge puddle by the curb, Jerry walked me up to the door of the building and ushered me inside. "Here's my cell phone number, call when your appointment is finished and I'll meet you right here."
An hour later, true to his word, Jerry was waiting for me and his kindness and gracious manner continued throughout the day. It was one of the most delightful days I'd ever spent in New York City, but unfortunately now it was time to say good-bye.
"Jerry, do you remember when we first met this morning? One of the very first things you told me was that you knew you would learn something from me today. But before I leave, I need to let you know that I learned something from 'you' today."
Suddenly I got very nervous, and was actually having second thoughts about telling Jerry the story, but I'd come this far so...
A couple of years ago, when I was out for an early morning walk, a car drove by me and then it turned around and drove by me again and again. The third time the car went by, the four Hispanic men inside started yelling lewd and suggestive obscenities at me. I figured it was just guys doing what guys do, but then when they drove up along side of me and slowed way down, I had the feeling they were going to get out of the car. I was scared to death. I started running. They were still yelling at me, and I just kept on running until I got home. And after that incident I was too scared to go for my early morning walk, but what troubled me even more, was that whenever an Hispanic man would greet me and say hello--I remembered the men from my early morning walk and felt afraid. I knew it wasn't logical, but I couldn't seem to help myself.
"But now things are going to be different, because today I got to know a kind, considerate, and wonderful person. So the next time I meet an Hispanic man, I won't be thinking about my early morning walk, instead I'll smile and return his gracious hello, because I'll remember you, Jerry."
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
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