Friday, September 30, 2016

Courier of Death

I got a call this afternoon to pick up a gentleman at his apartment near the downtown area. When I arrived, the parking lot was exceptionally cramped and I was barely able to wedge my cab into one of the parking spots.

I've grown to dread picking up folks at apartments. I get quite a few of those calls and invariably the address is hard to find and the person who called for the cab is never outside waiting. I usually end up wandering around the complex looking for them. This call was no different.

I waited for awhile and then got out of the cab and walked over to the door of the apartment where the customer lived and I knocked. The door opened and a pleasant older man answered it and greeted me. He came out and we walked over to the cab, got in and took off for his destination in downtown Salem.

"What's your story?" I asked him after we had exchanged a little small talk. "What's my story? What do you mean?" he replied. I smiled and said, "I mean everyone has a story to tell about their life, what's yours?"

That was the first time I had ever used that line with a customer and I wasn't sure how he was going to react. He warmed up immediately and told me that he was a Vietnam vet and that he was also an actor. "I was the lead actor in a feature film - a 'B' movie." he told me quite proudly. "Get back, Jack!" I laughed. "Are you serious?" "It's true," he said. "I was the lead actor in a movie called 'Courier of Death.'"

I told him that I would look up the movie on the internet when I got home and we went on with the ride. I took him to a business downtown and then back to his apartment and dropped him off.

I looked up the movie later on Google and sure enough, there he was. He was in his 30's when he filmed it back in the 1980's and yes, it's definitely a "B" movie. So, ladies and gentleman, I present my new friend Joey Johnson and his 1984 film debut in "Courier of Death."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I love driving.

I love driving. Since moving to Oregon from Austin, Texas in 2004, I've made it a habit to try to get lost on the weekends with a little thing I call, "free range driving" with my wife. After almost 13 years, it's getting a little harder to get lost.

In April of this year, a friend of mine who owns a taxi company asked me if I wanted to drive a taxi part time. I needed the work and he needed a driver. Since I love driving anyway, I figured it would be a perfect fit. Low and behold, it was.

Before I started driving the taxi, I had visions of getting robbed or even worse, getting my throat slit by a psycho passenger sitting behind me. Thankfully that scenario hasn't even come close to happening. In fact, I have been incredibly fascinated by the assortment of people that I have met and spoken with in the fifteen or so minutes that I spend with them on the way to their destination. When I began posting some of these encounters on Facebook, some of my friends said, "you should write a book." Well, maybe I'll do that someday. For now I thought I might try a blog about it.

So, here it is. I hope you enjoy these short stories about some folks I've encountered along the way either in my taxi or somewhere else in my travels through life.