In a world where evil lurks at the every corner, how could we trust someone who is, in entirety, a stranger to us? Shall we completely lose our faith to our fellowmen?
What do you think is something which drives humans to help one another? Read the following selection to find out.
Had I been drunk again? I thought as I was counting in my fingers the number of shots I had taken. I left the hotel as soon as I got my baggage and caught for a cab.
“At the wheat plains, Sir. Near here,” I instructed the cab driver.
I was a product of parents who divorced when I was still a high school senior. I had never seen my mother for six years so I was little unsure if she would still remember me. Or maybe I may not recognize her because of the passing years that had possibly made her older. “In what district, Sir? Heilongjiang is a big winter province,” the driver inquired and expounded. I was moreover uncertain on where to go because my Dad hardly knew the exact address of where she currently resides. “To the nearest. To the south. I don’t know for I’m searching for my Mom,” my unsure reply, “Or maybe try going to the north.”
I woke up that day due to the hunger my stomach had been screaming. “Where are we going?” I asked the driver. The wind blew much stronger than the days before this one. “We’re heading to the north. At Qiqihar,” the driver replied and afterwards briefly paused to yawn, “It is the nearest one from Harbin.”
Some hanging foliage of the trees harmoniously rested on the ground. Some leaves moved with the dancing strokes of the wind. “For how long shall I wait?” I impatiently said. My tummy began churning itself and it groaned like a starving lion. “Around two hours and thirty minutes,” the cab driver said as he jammed his foot on the brakes and stopped the cab the roadside.
Without any sign, he moved out of the vehicle. I waited for him to come back. Now, fifteen minutes had passed. In that short period, I recalled my dad’s advice not to trust anyone. I recalled the moment when I was held up while riding an air-conditioned bus. I thought of the latest crime I recently watched in a crime investigation channel concerning the taxi drivers. I thought that may be the cab driver had already abandoned me on a place that was a stranger to me. I thought of driving the cab myself.
I started thinking of many possibilities. My hands were shaking and my feet were weak that I can’t even lift my feet to walk. As seconds went by, I felt that someone’s draining my last strings of energy. My faith was eventually lost.
“Hey man!” the driver said gasping. He deeply breathed for air and opened the front door of the cab. My vision blurred; I only saw a small brown paper bag secured in his arms.
“Here, I brought in some rice cakes and a cup of fried noodles. And also a can of fresh milk and a bottle of distilled water.”
I handed over the entire meal and took a bite of a rice cake. “Oh here, the chopsticks,” the driver said as he was giving the wooden thing. I didn’t speak because I was busy with the food. And the reason too was that I was marvel
I immediately consumed the can of milk and saved the water later for my search. My mind established a synchronized gearing.
“I’m sorry that it got too long. The storekeeper was still frying the noodles. The noodles are delicious, aren’t they? I am a fan of them and I was waiting at the end of the line,” the driver chuckled. I deeply thought: he looked for a store for me, but why?
“The reason why I left you here is to guard the cab because the street leading to the store is too narrow. Besides, between of the two of us I’m the one who knows the way there,” he added as he drove away.
I nodded in amazement. “But why did you bother doing such?” I asked.
“Not so long time ago, I had a passenger who was also unsure on where to go. She was at midtwenties, I assume. She decided to tell her story as we traveled and then she wished me to drop her off to the north. As far as I can remember, she wanted to take her life on those plains because she thought no one cared for her. I don’t know why she told me her story but I was really bothered. When we were already halfway to the plains, I noticed that she moaned to the window that she was hungry. She grew much paler than I first saw her and she kept on touching her tummy. Meanwhile, I stopped the cab at the roadside. She began screaming because she thought that I would rape her. At that moment, I panicked and searched for a nearby store but I failed. I was already searching for an hour on the streets until I reached a narrow street and went inside. Finally, I saw a store and alas, I bought the same food that I gave you. Meanwhile, I came back to the cab and I was certain that she was about to lose her consciousness so I quickly put her lips to the lid of the can of milk. I thought she was about to die already. Thank goodness that she didn’t!” the driver happily narrated, “She also told me that she was pregnant for a month and that his boyfriend had already abandoned him. She said, ‘I think dying is the best option to do in what a world where no one cares for you. But, now there’s a cab driver who cares for a stranger. How rare in the earth is that!’ From that moment, she wished me to return to Harbin and drop her off near their house and promised to tell her parents about her situation and to have the willingness to take the risk.”
When I heard this, I smiled in great wonder. I remembered also the cab driver who took me from Beijing to Harbin. He added, “I saw you starving. Spending a few yuans for a hungry fellowman was much better than letting him die on the streets.” My faith to humankind had restored.
I was even more marveled. “A coffin is more expensive, nah!” he joked.
I realized from that very moment that even the most underpaid in the world has a caring heart and in him dwells a spirit of openhandedness and empathy.
I was thrilled when the taxi stopped at the middle of the long rocky road. “Here, Sir, how much should pay you?” I excitedly said.
I peeped outside through the window and saw the green plains. The driver looked at the meter and then I gave him the amount. “Oh wait, I better pay you for the nuisance I had cost and the food you had bought for me,” I added. The frost winds blew much stronger. “No need to bother, Sir. I’m already leaving. Good luck to your search!” he said.
I finger-waved and said my farewell to the cab driver. I saw the cab slowly appearing smaller and smaller before my eyes as its distance became exceedingly great. I thought: A thanks is not enough to be said to a Good Samaritan for he too is worthy to be awarded with love!
(1) The author, Sueju Takeshi 武, has written this short story two weeks ago, and since Thursday last week, he began looking and fixing for grammatical errors. As a response to this week’s Writing Challenge, Kill Your Darlings, he chopped down unnecessary ideas (originally 2039 words, now only 1223).
(2) My country and China are currently facing territorial crisis right now, but I recognize the friendly attitude of the Chinese people and their unwavering initiative to help their needy fellowmen.