It’s a true eye opener when what you read in the papers and see on the TV comes to life in the back of your cab. With Las Vegas having a huge military base I pick up a lot of our countries finest. Most are just wanting to get to wear they are going and move on with their day. A few weeks ago I picked up a guy from an apartment complex who looked like he was in the military but didn’t act like the other hundreds I’ve picked up.
This guy was very nice like all the others but acted like a small child would when they are being abused at home. I said good morning and asked where we where going. He gave a quick and quiet response then apologized saying, “I don’t know much about this, they just said I needed to go down here and do this thing.” He was going to the Gas Company to get his service turned on. I let him know that the office he just asked for was on the other side of town and that they have an office a lot closer if he would rather go there. He just sat there looking out the window like he was lost and said, “no I better just go here. That’s the address they gave me”. I informed him that it would cast about $35-$40 each way and he said that’s fine because “they” gave him enough money.
On our way down it was very quiet at first. He didn’t seem to want to engage in a conversation. So I tested the waters with a simply question.
Me: So you just moving to town or just moving in there?
Him: I just got here to Las Vegas and don’t know anything about this place.
ME: Oh, Welcome. Where are you here from?
He went on to tell me about all the places he’s from and listed off about 20 different cities. I was confused and had to know more. I got him to go into more details about his travels and found out that when he “got back” (that’s all he would say about that) his whole life was gone and he knew no one and had no one to turn to. So not knowing what else to do he took the bags he had and started looking for people he knew. He said it took him a few months but he found someone who was able to help and next thing he knew “they” put him in contact with “the people” to get him here.
After that he just shut down. I asked a few more questions and got silence. Then out of no where he started asking questions about the city and some of the stores he saw on the way. One that really took me by surprise was when he asked what Wal-Mart was. I first asked,” you don’t know about Wal-Mart?” and he said no “they” told him about it but he’s never been there. So I explained what Wal-Mart was in detail and continued on.
I pulled up to the Gas Company and gave him my number to call me when he was done. He thanked me and went in. I finish my paperwork for the ride and pulled out my lunch but before I could take a bite of my sandwich he was walking back out and asked if I could take him back. I said of course and off we went. I asked if he got it all taken care of.
Him: Yes but I could have done it over the phone they said.
Me: Why did they tell you to come down then?
Him: The Gas Company didn’t “they” did.
Me: well that sucks. What a waste of time and money.
We headed back and the random questions continued. About 3 miles from his place he asked if we could go back to Charleston and Decatur to the Wal-Mart. I said of course but if he’s just wanting to go to Wal-Mart there is one right by his house and it would be much closer and cost less money to get back from. I dropped him off and waited for his call.
When I picked him back up I noticed that he had what I would call a bachelor survival kit. This consists of a pillow, top ramen, personal hygiene stuff and a pot and pan. He got in and again I had to ask,
Me: when did you move in?
Me: Ah just getting the essentials?
Him: Yeah I have no gas for two days so I figure I can at least have a pillow for a change and microwave water for a hot meal.
Before I dropped him off he let me know that he spent about 3 years “over there” and so not hearing gun shots and having a roof over his head is a huge improvement. This really made me think. I bitch about all kinds of shit and don’t think twice. This guy has spent years at war for this country and has payed the price mentally. I have a beautiful family and a nice house that I come home to every day, who am I to complain.