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Re: you never know!

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  • keith2draw
    Michael, 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
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 23, 2003
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      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
      to be.

      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!

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