Monday, January 20, 2020

My Last Cabbie

As I completed my trade show on Thursday, I hailed a cab for the ride back to the airport.  I got picked up by an older gentleman, and we began making small talk.  He inquired where I was from, and upon hearing my reply, asked if that was anywhere near Leech Lake.

Needless to say we hit it off.

We talked about his fishing trips to Leech, then his time flying in the Navy, where he lost a lot of friends, but also met JFK and Jackie, as well as John McCain, and the stories were discussed in detail.  We then talked about life after the war, raising kids, and owning a line of restaurants.  We then talked about the loss of his wife five years ago, and the loss of his son just last December 24.

His son was a pit boss, a non-smoker, who acquired double lung cancer.  Dead at 49.  His wife left him upon him losing his job because he was too ill to work.

As we approached the airport, he stated, "I figure I can pay off my son's bills in about three years.  At that point, I am done workin'."

I tipped him 150%, to which he seemed genuinely touched, and sent me off with a "God bless you, sir!"

Did I get played?  I asked myself that walking through the airport.  He sure sounded ex-military, and our discussion on helicopters and ships seemed legit.  How he felt about McCain is exactly like my cousin, so that seemed real as well.  Finally, we started out with him asking about Leech Lake, for cryin' out loud.

I feel crappy harboring the thought that I got played, and resigned myself that I was either in the company of a hero, of one of the world's best story tellers.  

Regardless of which it was, the tip was justified.

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