Sunday, September 11, 2016

Reflections on 9/11

So I park my car downtown on SW Broadway. I'm going down to PSU to check with the admissions office to see if I can enroll for classes this semester. Some lady comes up and starts asking me for directions. She shows me some mapquest printout for an adress on NW Northrup st.

"You should take the streetcar." I told her, pointing towards the nearest rail stop. "But the quickest way is to take the 405."

"You know where this is?" she asks. "Someone told me it's 5 blocks away."

"I"m a cab driver." I reply. "I know where everything is. It's more than 5 blocks. The best way is to take the freeway."

"Will you take me?" She motions back to where she parked her car. I'm starting to get the idea she's running late. If she goes back to her car she's going to miss whatever appointment she's on her way to.

"Okay." I'm not in a hurry. But apparently she is. We pile into my '92 corolla and bail out. She seems grateful, unconcerned with the mess I've made of my car, and the spare battery on the passenger side floor.

"Just go." she says. "It's okay."

And we're off. Just a white kid from NE Portland, giving a ride to a complete stranger. I ask her where she's from.

"I'm living in Beaverton." she says. I don't press the issue. She's obviously from another country. She might not want to say which one. Maybe she's been discriminated against before. Maybe she's from India. Maybe the Middle East.

"Thank you so much." she offers on the way there. She gives me a look. Is she wondering, does this guy have an angle? Is he really just a nice guy being nice? She's pretty. Probably about my age, but that's not why I'm helping her.

"No problem." I say. "I'm a cab driver. This is what I do. Just not usually in my car."

We roll up to the address on NW Northrup st. Customs and Immigration office. 

"Thank you so much." she says. "They said if I miss this appointment they won't reschedule. This is my last chance. Can I give you 20$?"

"Sure." I reply. I would have done it for free, but I take the money.

"God bless you." 

And there she goes, into the immigration office 20 minutes late. I hope they didn't cancel her appointment. I drove off before I could find out one way or the other. I wish her the best. I know she just wants what we all want. A future for her family. A future that's maybe a little better than what she could find in whatever country she's from. And despite whatever problems we have I still believe that America is a great place. A place where despite all of our differences most of the time we all still get along. A place where hope still lives.

Categories/Tags: 99825 99826 99828 99840 99835

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