Back Seat Of A Taxi

By Jerry D. Haight

As I sit in the back seat of this taxi I remember when we started. The door of the baggage and claim at Lambert field in St. Louis opened onto the street and the Holiday Inn was in sight, just across the parking lot, and the freeway; only a short walk were it not for the fence, light rail track and, of course the freeway. Of the long queue of taxis, fifty or sixty would be a good guess, the driver finally got to the front of the line, anticipating a fare to downtown St. Louis (at least a forty dollar fare and maybe a tip of six or eight. But when his passenger said “Holliday Inn Woodland Park”, the tendons on his neck stood at attention, his jaws became taught, his face grew red and his knuckles turned white. He about broke the fare meter handle as he threw it in the start position and then slammed his clipboard down on the passenger seat in utter dismay and disgust at his bad fortune. “Now I have a four dollar fare and maybe a sixty or eighty cent tip, then back to the end of the queue”, he thought and he figured if he dared open his mouth during this trip, he would probably say something he would regret, so he  just grit his teeth and said nothing as he navigated the short distance to the hotel. What he doesn’t realize, is that seeing his plight, I already have a five in my hand for the fare and twenty for his tip. This man is in for a pleasant surprise.