Sunday, June 6, 2010

Holly and Lucy, Mom & Dad

Before getting in the taxi, Mom asked, "How many seat belts are available in the backseat?" After hearing three (3) the two young ones and Mom climbed into the back while Dad joined me up front.

I allowed a moment for everyone to settling in then asked, "Is everyone buckled in?" A chorus of 'yeses' was my cue to leave Universal Studios bound for the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Usually a full day of thrills at Universal equals a quite ride home. The exhausted young ones quickly fall asleep and the grown ups enjoy a few well deserved moments of peace and quite.

This family of four from Detroit (originally the UK) was the exception to the rule. They were ready for more so I was duty bound to oblige.

Along the way, I pointed out places of interest, told a few tales and even a few jokes. It truly was an enjoyable ride with giggles and belly laughs the whole way.

As we came close to our destination I turned to Dad and said, "Not to worry we are almost there. Just to be sure you said the Disney in Anaheim. Correct?" I wish I would have had a video of his reaction. "No, No, it's the Avalon in Beverly Hills.”

I pointed at their hotel and said, "Oh, you mean that one there? "Everyone laughed again and he said, "You got me good Paul! "They all thanked me as they got out of the cab saying it was one of the best cab rides/tours ever.

My only regret was that I didn't pull out my iPhone so that I could share with you the picture I will carry in my minds eye for a long time.

These two little gals, standing next to their Mom, dressed in matching Universal Studios tops, shorts, and caps (with ear to ear grins and giggles) waving goodbye.

That's better than a $100 tip!

Originally, this was where I thought this story would end but God has a way of sharing the rest of the story.

About 11:45PM I received an urgent Police request. I was about nine (9) minutes away.

I turned in to the gas station and stopped next to the idling Police car. After a quick greeting and exchange of information one of the officers walked over to his squads backdoor and opened it.

As she slid out of the car, the interior light cast a yellowish light across her puffy red and wet face. She had rubbed and pressed tears all over her face.

I heard both officers encourage her by saying, "It's going to be okay! Paul will take good care of you... You're safe. It's okay."

She didn't look at any of the three of us as she made her way from their backseat to mine. The move on her part was labored and silent, but for her sniffles and gulps of air.

The other officer moved her purse from their trunk to mine and then both headed back to their car with a wave.

My dispatcher had informed me that this was a "Children of the Night" account call so I had placed a box of tissues and a small bottle of water on the backseat before arriving.

I didn't know the exact situation or circumstances but she was clearly in the midst of a crisis.

The drive started without any words spoken. After I pulled onto the freeway I said, (in my softest voice) "Jenny, my name is Paul - did they tell you where I'm taking you?" (Jenny in not her real name)

I heard a muted, "Sort of – well no not really."

I explained where I was taking her and that it would take about twenty- five minutes for us to arrive.

"Ooh - okay."

I continued, "I heard the police tell you that you're going to be okay and that you are safe. You really are safe and things are going to work out."

"Thank you."

Conversation is difficult in these circumstances. I glance out the window to find something, anything to talk about. Most of the ride was silent.

She sipped water and was able to calm herself a bit.

When we arrived at our destination I told her that I wouldn't leave until she was comfortable and settled in.

She said, "Thank you."

The contrast between each ride was extreme. It's my hope and prayer that Jenny will now have the help she needs to find her way and that Holly and Lucy will never loose their way.

Children of the Night is a non profit organization. If you want to find out more information click this link.

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