by Laura Bennet
Joy Wurshop yanked on the handle of her rolling briefcase. For the last time. The handle came off in her hand. The impact nearly threw her off her black high heels. Walking was no longer an option. She’d have to call a cab. Ten minutes before her meeting started. Only a miracle would get her there.
“Taxi!” She scanned the crowded street for yellow while attempting to shove the bag’s handle back in place.
You’ll have to be aggressive in the big city. The unsolicited advice from her previous boss incited her to take a step off the curb. Without looking. A cab screeched to a halt inches from her black pencil skirt. Joy’s free hand flew to her mouth while her purse slid off her shoulder and down the grey and pink floral silk blouse adorning her arm.
“Lady, what the heck’re ya doin? Trying to get yourself killed? Do you want a cab or a coffin?”
“Cab, please.” She let the coffin remark slide. Gripping her broken briefcase and purse, she fumbled with the door handle. The driver turned, facing her, and yelled out the passenger window.
“Come on, lady. I ain’t got all day.” His booming expletive carried over honking horns blaring behind him.
Joy threw her belongings through the door and slid in beside them.
“Where to? Where to? Let’s get a move on.”
“27th Street. The Town Center Building. Please hurry. I have a meeting, and I’m already late.”
“Oh, miss fancy-pants wants me to hurry now. Dawdled getting in my cab, and now I’m the one to get her to her meetin’…”
Joy closed her eyes against the pooling tears as the man carried on. Not what she needed. Not today. Not when her career hung by a thread.
Drawing in a deep breath, she dug in her purse for a tissue, settling for a wadded piece at the bottom. By the time she removed mascara smudges and reapplied lip gloss, they turned onto her street. Joy prayed she had enough cash for the fare.
Flipping through all her cards, her heart plunged. Bank, credit, medical, pharmacy, Sam’s Club, library. Nothing. Opened her change purse. A couple of folded up ones and two pennies. They were pulling up to her building. Praying for a miracle, she peeked in a little, side pocket, fully knowing she never kept money there.
“That’ll be $17.50. No charge for not runnin’ ya over back there.” He howled a laugh.
Tucked inside the pocket was a folded bill. Thank God! But when she pulled it out, the sight elated and crushed her. A fifty. Since when…she never had that kind of money. But she knew what she needed to do. She closed her eyes with a sigh. A moment later, she opened them and handed the bill over, offering a shaky smile.
“Here. Keep the change.”
As she closed the door, she caught his muttering.
“Well, I never…”
And she guessed he never had.
With so many ways to be offended these days, it takes patience, guts, and the Holy Spirit to make us able to act and speak in the opposite way. Stumbling on this short piece I wrote years ago, reminded me to choose grace rather than offense.