Today, I tried to walk home from Yoga but soon the rain was coming down hard and I looked for a cab. After a few minutes without much luck, I saw a cab with its light on and I tried to hail it. I noticed that there was a passenger and stepped back on the sidewalk.
The cab driver pulled up to the curb and asked, "Do you mind that my son is in the car?"
"Not at all," I replied, thankful to have a ride home.
The driver explained that his son was autistic and he couldn't leave him at home alone. He told me about how difficult it was to raise him and how he lost his business because he couldn't tend it and his son. His wife used to help but one day she was experiencing back pains and went to the hospital. They told her she would need surgery and admitted her. Her english was poor so she signed waivers without fully understanding what was happening. She would never walk out of the hospital. Complications from the surgery would leave her paralyzed. She grew increasingly depressed and finally the husband sent her back to Ethiopia to be with her family.
He told me of the difficulties of finding a good school for his son. His worry about what would happen if he died. Who would take care of his son? I tried to explain to him the importance of drafting a will and naming a guardian for his son. I gave him my card and told him to call me if he needed help. He won't be calling. He will move with his son to Ethiopia in August.
As he talked, I thought about how the American dream was not realized for him. I thought of the great courage it takes to come from a country where you are affluent and educated and drive people around in a cab while fearful of losing your house. "I lost my house once here, I won't lose it again," he said. He looked over at his son. They share a playful relationship. The son plays with the dials on the car. Looking up at his dad and giggling becuase he thinks he is being naughty. "It is for the child. I am an old man. He is a child. He needs a father." With all the family that he and his wife have in Ethiopia he hopes to find someone that he can trust with his son's care after they pass on.
I made a silent prayer for this good man and his son who waved excitedly as I got out of the cab. I prayed they find peace in Ethiopia. That they are clothed with the love of their extended family and that worries will roll gently off their backs so they no longer carry the great burden of fear and uncertainty.
(Today I am grateful for a taxi ride and a hot shower after coming out of the cold pouring rain which soaked right through my Toms.)