Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Impatience and a Guy in a Wheelchair

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Impatience and a Guy in a Wheelchair

Article excerpt

The rain was coming down in sheets, it was already after 8:30 a.m., and I was late for an important hearing that was part of the responsibilities of my job. I was dressed up, too, high heels and everything. So I hailed a cab, thinking that would be faster than the subway.

It wasn't.

After a long wait, I finally got a cab, but the traffic was moving at a snail's pace, and the driver stopped to pick up another customer along the way.

I was really going to be late, and I was really getting tense. I looked at my watch every 10 seconds.

Then, just as the traffic started moving, the driver spotted a man up ahead in a wheelchair. He was sitting there by the curb, getting soaked while holding his arm out - incredibly patiently, it appeared - to hail a cab.

"What a day for him to be waiting outside!" the driver cried, and began to pull over.

Just what I needed. Unbelievable. I could see another 20 minutes going down the drain, the whole production of lifting him into the cab, folding up his chair and fitting it into the cab's small trunk, then dropping him off who knows where, and everyone at work staring as I straggled into the hearing room mid-morning.

Even before I spoke, I felt that two parts of me were in a race, and that I was nearly helpless to stop the narcissistic component which, smaller yet faster, blinded by my own predicament at that particular moment, was going to win.

"What are you doing?!" I exclaimed to the driver.

As the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to take them back, disown them. The wrongness of my reaction started to sink in, and it shocked me. I almost wasn't sure who that person was who had just spoken.

The driver ignored me, and as I sat there in the back seat, immobilized, he stopped the cab and got out, as did the other passenger, to attend to the man. …

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