“Excuse me, could I cross the road with you to see if that’s my taxi?”
She’s probably around 80. She stands tall, but holds a cane in one hand while the other holds the fence rail.
N ran across the road to ask the taxi, and I stayed chatting to the woman, whose name was Bernice. She’d crashed her car into a brick wall, accidentally accelerating rather than breaking, two weeks ago. The car was a write-off. Bernice doesn’t like depending on public transport. Except trains, which are amazing.
It wasn’t her taxi, and N told her if she didn’t mind strangers, we’d take her home.
“Oh I wouldn’t imagine!”
Really, Bernice, we don’t mind. N brought the car over and a few shuffling steps later we were on our way.
For the thirteen minute drive we chatted with Bernice; she’s a poet from South Wales, and ‘if she knew of a better accent, she’d use it.’
We dropped her off, waved good-bye, and then I got weepy.
Bernice reminded me that it’s so incredibly easy to shut yourself off from the world. To avoid eye-contact and just keep walking. She reminded me that you can only meet other interesting people if you’re open to doing so. She reminded me to be grateful for everything, not just the big things. (“I’m so fortunate, just so incredibly fortunate. All the time, people are so kind. If you expect them to be, they often don’t disappoint.) She travels all over, and someone is always around to help, if she asks. (Including the group of teenage lads, who not only helped her cross the street, but walked her to the opticians office too).
So, thank you, Bernice. I’m incredibly fortunate you needed a lift. Sometimes, if you’re paying attention, the right person can show you the bit of something you maybe needed.