I never set out to be a hero.
“Thank you, mister taxi driver.” The old woman was a regular customer. “By the way, you are now my pastor’s favorite sermon illustration.”
“What church do you attend, ma’am?”
“Presbyterian,” she replied.
“Well, that’s certainly high praise.”
Fame is fleeting. Much to my relief the media soon found a dog that could ride a skateboard.
“Tom, do you have a minute?”
Clive rarely spoke to me.
“I’ve been ordered to appear before the committee. The directors want me out of the business.
Clive Jennings was not a popular man. He drank too much and even in uniform he looked like an unmade bed.
“That’s rough,” I tried to show some support.
There was an awkward silence before he spoke.
“When Mary died I sort of lost it,” he stumbled over his words. “But I’ve been going to meetings and I think I can handle it now.”
“I’m not sure what it is you want me to do,” I ventured.
Clive looked at his shoes. I could tell he was embarrassed. “I was wondering if you could say a good word for me.”
The Greater Western Taxi Service holds its directors meeting on the last Friday of each month at ten o’clock. It is well known the meetings never run past 12 o’clock. Not since the Railway Hotel started serving its famous Chicken Parmigiana for lunch.
“Tom, thank you for coming,” the Chairman pointed to the seat directly in front of him.
“Thank you, Barry,” I smiled.
“Tom, I will be short and to the point.” Lunch was only twelve minutes away. “As you know we have had a number of serious complaints regarding Clive.” I nodded in agreement. “So we have asked him to give us a reason why he should be allowed to stay in the co-op.”
“I know. It’s been a rough ride for him,” I offered my hands in supplication.
“Well that may be true,” the Chairman interjected. “But we are not a charity.”
“Barry, I would be the first to agree with you,” I responded. “But I know he’s been going to meetings and I know for certain he hasn’t missed one.”
The young man at the end of the table raised his hand and was acknowledged by the chair.
“Do you believe he has turned a corner?”
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Thank you, Tom. We won’t hold you any longer.” Lunch was now only seven minutes away.
Suddenly the young man raised his hand again.
“Can I ask one more question, Mr Chairman?”
“Make it quick.” Lunch was now six minutes away.
“How much money was in that shopping bag?”
I looked helplessly at the committee before answering.
“Ten thousand dollars,” I replied meekly.
“Is it true you found the owner and returned it to him?”
“Yes. It was some kid wanting to buy his first car.” Unfortunately the kid’s father just happened to own the local newspaper.
“One more thing,” Lunch was now only two minutes away. “Why did you paint a rope on the side of your taxi?”
The chairman placed his face in his hands and let out a soft groan.
“It’s not a rope. Its three cords tied together. My wife and I made a promise to God when we bought the business. The three cords represent truth, love and faith.”
“Thank you, Tom,” the Chairman brought the meeting to an abrupt close. “Meeting adjourned.”
It would be another week before I heard from Clive.
“Clive, how are you?” It was a slow Monday night.
“I just got this letter from the Directors,” he said handing it to me. “I want you to read the last paragraph.
My eyes quickly skimmed the lines.
“Mr Tom Walker gave evidence of your recent efforts to rehabilitate yourself. In light of his excellent reputation we were persuaded to defer any action against your membership at this point in time.”
“I’m happy for you, Clive,” I said handing it back to him. “My wife and I prayed for you.”
My colleague hesitated before he spoke.
“This means a lot to me, Tom,” he said choking with emotion. “I won’t let you down.”
“I believe you, Clive,” I smiled. “I really do.”
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