Re: you never know!
I enjoyed your story, and am thrilled for your family that you were
able to obtain that wonderful book. I have had things like that
happen often enough, in my research as well as in my travels,
that I'm not surprised when they do occur...they just seem meant
I'll give an example, if Cadia will permit me to digress from
Blanding as well.
A number of years ago I was backpacking through Germany and
I arrived in Berlin by train at 9pm in the evening. I usually stayed
at youth hostels, but when I arrived at the one in Berlin they were
booked solid. The YMCA also had no room. I had a contact in
East Berlin, but she didn't have a phone, as the wall had just
come down and the waiting list for new phones was over a year.
I decided to hail a cab and he drove me to her run-down
tenement building. The cabbie waited for me while I ran up and
knocked on the door. No answer, so I left a note and returned to
the cab. I was exhausted, sleep deprived and a little low on
money. The driver seemed to sense this and offered to take me
around to a few cheap hotels which had dormitory
accommodation. He turned the meter off and took me to a
couple of places which were full. He then offered for me to sleep
in his cab as he was about to go off duty and he parked his cab
outside of his apartment. I politely declined, but was touched he
was going so out of his way for a complete stranger.
He finally found an inexpensive hotel for me which had dorm
rooms and bid me farewell. I didn't really get a chance to thank
him properly as he drove away. There was no one else in the
dorm room so I got a great night's sleep.
A number of years later I was running a youth hostel in Santa
Cruz, California and visiting the Chinese New Year's parade in
San Francisco. I was standing on the side of the street in a
crowd and happened to strike up a conversation with the
gentleman standing next to me. I could tell from his reply that he
was from Germany, so I asked him what town he was
from..."Berlin" he replied. I told him I had been there three years
before and he looked at me a little funny. He asked me the
strangest question then...had I been to East Berlin and taken a
taxi in the middle of the night?
Anyway, it turned out he was the same man who gave me a lift,
drove me around for free, and got me out of a tight spot. Shortly
after that incident he had quit the taxi company, bought his own
cab, and started saving for a vacation to America...a longtime
dream of his.
I was finally able to properly thank the man, and I invited him
down to Santa Cruz, where I gave him free accommodation for a
few days and showed him around town. We actually had a great
time, although we didn't really have much in common.
Berlin and San Francisco are two of the larger cities in the world,
as well as being thousands of miles apart...but this story proves
once again that the world is a very small place indeed. Boy, how I
miss my vagabond days at times!