16 Jan 2011

Goodwill from a stranger

I was paid a visit by the Captain over the weekend, who had been in my area and decided to drop by. We had lunch at a restaurant called Mish Mash, a Jamaican eatery fairly recently opened. The Captain introduced me to Jamaican ‘festival’ a sort of sweetened ‘bread’ that is really nice. And I was also re-introduced to Jamaican jerked chicken. It was great, but not as spicy as I make mine… I have a thing for really spicy foods. The Captain has photos, if he decides to add them in a post.

Anyway, during our conversations I was telling him about a particular incident that happened to me some time ago. I was relating how I was on my way to work one morning in a taxi when I realised, nearing the destination (my workplace) that I had forgotten my wallet. I desperately searched my briefcase, my jacket pockets, my trousers (pants) and even my shirt pockets and the car (thinking it may have fallen on the floor) to no avail. I just didn’t have it. Before I continue I must add a small detail. In all the years I’ve lived in England and in Birmingham I have always used the same taxi service. No other.

I explained my predicament to the Pakistani taxi driver. He was fairly new to the company, a perfect stranger whom I was meeting for the first time that morning and so I was stunned when he reached for his wallet and pulled out £20 and handed it to me.

To say I was confused was an understatement. Here I was, owing this man money for taking me to work and he was handing me money?! At first I honestly thought he was mad and ignored him. He waved the money insisting I take it. Sure he was losing it somewhere, I asked him why was he giving me money? His response further surprised me.

He explained that without my wallet, I would have no money (or bankcards to access money) for lunch or any other expenses for the day, and no money to get back home. He insisted I take the money and ‘pay him back when I next saw him’. Now, for anyone who knows, that may not be for weeks… the company does not sent the same driver all the time when a customer calls.

I was rather touched, and even though I offered to come later and drop the money off to his company’s office, or to have home come to my home after work, he declined. Returning the money when I saw him was good enough.

I stopped off at work, had my lunch and a return trip home, all on his money. I didn’t se him again until over a week later when he came to take me to work. I then returned his money, offering some additional interest which he politely declined once again.

I have another similar incident of goodwill which I will relate at another time.