We have a "regular" who lives up in Maui Meadows, which is located on the mauka (mountain) side of Pi'ilani Highway (SR-31) just south of the Wailea/Kihei line. He's not anyone's "special". I took him home the other night and he said:
"Did you know that you are the best driver that Royal Cab has?"
"How do you figure that?"
"You are a very comfortable driver. Every ride with you is smooth. You are not a 'slow poke'. In fact I notice that you seldom stay within the speed limit but you don't constantly hit the breaks nor accelerate rapidly. You make turns without bouncing me around in the seat. You are a very smooth driver."
"Gee. Thanks. I really don't know how else to respond."
"No worries. If every driver drove as you do, I'd be a lot happier. Did you learn to drive that way as a cop?"
"I got some from there but my Dad taught me to drive. He was an Air Force pilot and believed in control of his planes by being "one" with them. After I learned the basics, he would put a coffee cup and saucer on the dash, filled with water. I had to be able to start, stop, turn, brake and accelerate without spilling any of the water. It was a 'stick-shift' Rambler. When I mastered all that, I was able to solo in the family car. The cop training really just smoothed off some rough edges and taught me how to be safe at very high speeds."
I think the greatest praise I ever received from my father was during a trip from just south of Sacramento, CA, USA, to a whisker north of the Mexican border, in the mid-80's. About an 11 hour trip. My maternal grandmother and her sister had been killed in a traffic collision and my maternal grandfather was in critical condition in the hospital. We were on a 2-lane State highway, with heavy traffic. It was mid-morning. I pointed out to Dad that there was an ambulance, about 5 miles down the hill, headed our way. Rolling "CODE-3" (lights and siren). After the ambulance passed, he turned to me and told me that I was the best driver he had ever seen. All the shiny trinkets that I had received in my life couldn't hold a candle to what I felt when he said that.
***Late in the same shift, I took one of the lady bartenders home from the "Triangle".
"I like riding with you."
"You are always so calm. You are a comfortable driver and I feel safe when I am in your cab. You must have to deal with a lot of obnoxious drunks, but it never shows. I remember one night when you took me and my boyfriend home from Mulligans. I was being a real bitch with you and you never reacted. You were so pleasant. I am sorry."
"I don't remember it that way."
"Well, I was."
"Okay. But since I don't remember that incident, then, as far as I am concerned, it never happened. So don't fret over it."
"Thank you. You really are nice."
***Last night was one of contrasts. I only had 6 fares, but two of them were in the low $40 range. Three were in the mid-$20's and one just missed going "double-digit" by 20-cents. So it was a decent shift overall.
Things had been pretty steady when I checked in and continued that way until just after 11:00pm. Then it flat-assed died. A total of 5 dispatches from then until I turned the phone over to my relief at 4:00am.
Bada Bings, as I have mentioned before, has taken over doing the theme nights that used to be the defunct Hapa's forte. Last night was "Mehu" (may-who) night, designed to cater to the "alternative lifestyle" crowd. We seldom get much business from that group and there was a very small turnout to "feed the cabbies". In fact, there really weren't many people on the streets last night. Just too close to the end of the month for most people, i guess.
When I passed on the phone this morning, all the pickups were for this afternoon. All but one were "meet & greets" at OGG. That indicates FIT's (Financially Independent Travelers). The ENTIRE tourist industry LOVES FIT's.
***Starting on the 1st of April, I will reduce the number of images in the daily PICTURE GALLERY to, usually, six. This should make it easier from my "dial-up" friends to check in. I have already reduced the number of posts on the front page from 7 to 3. This will also make it a bit easier for me, since I can then spread my images over a longer period of time.
Everybody stay safe today and I'll be looking for you tomorrow.
THE PICTURE GALLERY
Standard Footwear In Hawai'i
Silverswords On Haleakala
Just A Typical Beautiful Day In Hawai'i
A Sandy Beach On Kaua'i
"Let's all be careful out there!"